Journal

Just like that she is done she is done. Just like that she is done.

October 31, 2008
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My application packet is assembled and ready for delivery. I just had to say I was paralyzed with fear for the fear to vanish. I am free. Practically. I was watching the Matrix Reloaded (the second one) yesterday when I was supposed to be writing my cover letter, and I felt very zen witnessing the sci-fi kung fu cgi mayhem. It’s a pleasure not to be virtual. Where does passion live? It’s an endorphin,...

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Curriculum Vitae

October 31, 2008
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I am freaking myself out. When I was in elementary school, I decided to be a teacher—to teach History. That was the plan all the way into college, when I discovered that English Literature was significantly more compelling. My junior year I took this fiction/poetry team-teaching class. We had a fiction writer for the first half—a rugged guy who loved Hemingway, and for the poetry half—an earnest guy who wrote long, lush narratives. Literature...

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Post-Buzz and Still Dreaming

October 20, 2008
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The thing about art is that it has to be manic. The crest and trough heaving is necessary to be able to experience and capture and elucidate the joy and folly of living. When you find yourself surrounded by nurturing, intelligent women with educated opinions and firebrand ideals, you start to think you’ve only ever half-lived. And you’re right.  So, P-Town was fantastic. Two readings, four signings, a wine & cheese mingle, a panel,...

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Tourist

October 20, 2008
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In graduate school, a woman I was in love with gave me a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s “The Passion” and promised it would change me.  And it did.  It was an uncomfortable read.  Mad and operatic.  Typical of Winterson in its tone and mode, as I would learn afterward, but startling in that first read.  I remember having to remind myself to breathe.  And the scene where the web-footed woman takes her gondola to the house of her...

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Hello gin and tonic

October 20, 2008
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Editors.  I love a good editor.  They see story and character, structure and theme like pieces on a chess board.  Yeah, the knight is stuck behind the castle, and you need to move him over here to support the queen.  And just like that, something clarifies in your mind.  Some niggling doubt, always there, has been given voice by an objective, seasoned vocalist, and you get it.  You’re just nodding, of course, of course, and...

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The Thin Veil of I

October 6, 2008
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First person is a tricky thing sometimes. It makes the story more immediate and direct, more story-like. But, depending on the character, the reader may begin to see the narrator and the writer as the same creature. Confessional poetry lends itself to this blur. Sylvia Plath is the classic confessional writer. Her own experience, her own voice, herself as protagonist. But it’s really not that clear, is it? Or, at least, it’s not that...

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Plotting

October 2, 2008
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I’m contemplating a murder. I can see it: the body, and two teenagers. And part of me is concerned that as a writer, I’m becoming ghoulish, and part of me is intrigued by this notion. In Alice Munro’s short stories, the characters are frequently informed by violence, but the violence is usually outside the scope of the story—it happens off-stage. I don’t have any interest in writing thrillers. I think I’m much more interested...

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Conviction

October 2, 2008
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Joss Whedon (I’m a major fan of this brilliant guy — creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.) said that conviction is what makes evil different. Conviction is why fringe groups are so dangerous: they cannot see the other side. This is interesting to me because I’ve been thinking, lately, about obsession. I struggle with obsession. I can’t play video games because I used to play non–stop for two days—all through the night, calling...

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On Attachment

August 20, 2008
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I used to burn everything. Photographs, letters, any memento from a relationship, once that relationship was over. I had to use lighter fluid a couple of times because the clothes wouldn’t catch fire. For a while, after graduate school, people had a reprieve. They wrote so beautifully that I couldn’t bring myself to burn their letters. Two years ago, I read through the stack and one group of them had been written to a...

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We must live with our stories

August 9, 2008
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I’m at the point in the writing where the end of the novel is in every sentence–its inevitability, its weight and tragedy. It’s so blissful when you’re puzzling through this stuff, when you untangle the major threads, and the twists, and the climax, and have sorted the beast out. But then, when you must write their happiness, when you must make it honest and vulnerable and give it depth and humanity, knowing all along...

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