Field Guide

Editorials

April 23, 2010
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In an extended email exchange with my editor, she wrote, “We can discuss Giraffe People in NOLA.” (Giraffe People is my third manuscript.  NOLA is New Orleans, where we will be attending Saints & Sinners Literary Festival together.  Now you know as much as I did.) “Does that mean you’ve finished it?” I wrote. “Almost.  Why?  Do you have another draft I should be reading instead?” Now, at this point, the writer has to...

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Simple

April 18, 2010
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I used to feel that I spent an inordinate amount of time writing about grief.  Particularly during the writing of Field Guide, I resisted giving the proper weight to the aunt’s death, because I didn’t want to.  I kept thinking about my mother’s comment, “Why do the mother figures in your stories always die?” But, the truth is, I also spend a lot of time writing about joy.  About love.  About desire. Yesterday was...

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The evolving idea

January 9, 2010
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Spoiler alert:  in the following, I will divulge certain aspects relating to the climax of A FIELD GUIDE TO DECEPTION. It began with an idea for a boy in a trunk.  The boy would be dead.  And, over time, the story of his death would unfold.  And then I got bored.  I never actually  wrote anything for that one.  Well, maybe a paragraph.  It would have been set in Seattle. And then I saw...

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Comfort smells

December 24, 2009
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Over time (too much, arguably) I have learned that her smell comforts me.  It works best if it’s a shirt, one she has worn enough to sweat in.  And then, while she’s away, I wear the shirt, and am fine.  And the missing can feel good, instead of panicky.  Missing puts love into relief, doesn’t it?  You can see the landscape. I’ve remembered another line from that poem.  In evening, this late inevitable chant....

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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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Perspective

August 9, 2008
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The narrative perspective for the new novel I’m writing is third person limited, which means I’m writing from the perspective of (in this particular case) three different characters. The narration is filtered through one of their perspectives at any given time. At present, I don’t go into anyone else’s perspective. I am beginning to feel though, that the book might really be third person omniscient. In which case, the narration can move into any...

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