Guest Blogger Rachael Herron talks about the biggest failure. . . Last night I went out with (as I think of her) my Young Writer friend. My favorite barista at my beloved but now defunct cafe, she has stars in her eyes about writing, and is applying to MFA programs all over the country. We ate sushi and talked about writing, and I remembered myself in her. When I was 25 — her age — I packed up my tiny Ford Festiva with its roller-skate wheels and headed to Mills for my MFA. I was going to light the world on fire with my prose. Or at least, I was going to write. And I lit a lot of things on fire, namely the cigarettes I was still smoking back then. I was giving myself two years in the ivory tower, two years to really focus on craft. Then, for…
Month: December 2013
“I began these pages for myself . . .” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Excerpt from Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I began these pages for myself in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships. And since I think best with a pencil in my hand, I started naturally to write. I had the feeling, when the thoughts first clarified on paper, that my experience was very different from other people’s. (Are we all under this illusion?) My situation had, in certain ways, more freedom than that of most people, and in certain other ways, much less. . . . And so gradually, these chapters, fed by conversations, arguments and revelations from men and women of all groups, became more than my individual story, until I decided in the end to give them back to the people who had shared and stimulated many of these thoughts. Here, then,…
What games did you play? Prompt #32
Today’s prompt is from To Have Not, a fascinating memoir by Frances Lefkowitz. When us kids used to walk down 16th Street to the schoolyard or across Sanchez to the corner store, we’d keep a lookout for cool cars. When one drove by – a red mustang convertible, a tiny MG, a black Jag with the silver cat ready to pounce off the hood – whoever saw it first would point and say, “That’s my car!” We could play this game anywhere, my brothers and their buddies and I, shouting the words loud and fast to drown out anyone else who might be thinking about claiming the same car. You could even play it alone, whispering the three magic words while walking home from school or sitting in a window seat on the bus, leaning your drowsy head against the sun-warmed glass. Then the car would speed through traffic, carrying…
Frances Lefkowitz — To Have Not, a memoir
Frances Lefkowitz, author of To Have Not, has written a memoir about her remarkable life: lifting herself up from the hard scrabble of a “have not” life in San Francisco in the seventies to attending an Ivy League college on a scholarship. She writes with clarity, honesty and humor, showing her unique perspective on life. Here’s an excerpt: “But time, like traffic, moves on. In a moment that lasts maybe a year or two, everything that was clear about the world becomes hazy and then sharpens up again, like the view through a camera lens as you twist the focus in and out. What you once knew without thinking begins to clash with the evidence darting out at you from all around, from TV and movies and comic books and magazines and even real life . . . This is the moment when you discover that there are people out…
Flash Fiction Online
Frances Lefkowitz has been published in Flash Fiction. Here’s what Flash Fiction has to say: Every month, Flash Fiction Online is proud to publish what we think is some of the best darn flash fiction (500 to 1000 words) there is. Each issue includes three original stories by both new and seasoned authors. Although many on our staff have a fondness for the speculative, we enjoy and select fiction in any genre. Founded by Jake Freivald in 2007, Flash Fiction Online has been published by Anna Yeatts since September 2013. We believe good stories should be free to readers—our goal is to help foster appreciation for short fiction. At the same time, we’re eager to support writers. We offer pro-rate payment for stories (as defined by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, $0.05/ word). All our stories are read blind, with the author names and other identifying material…
Guest Blogger Frances Lefkowitz – “Are your parents still speaking to you?” The Dangers of Memoir
“Are your parents still speaking to you?” This question—a darn good one—comes up pretty much every time I do a Q&A. The short answer is “Yes.” My parents and siblings are all still talking to me; we still get together for holidays and birthdays and no blood gets shed. But this is not the case for other memoirists; I know several who are estranged from their families. Discussing family matters, revealing secrets, shining light on our most vulnerable and tragic moments including bad behavior or naive mistakes, and getting just our version into print, so it sounds like the official word on the subject: If this is what we do when we write memoir, then offending the people in our lives is one of our occupational hazards. The long answer is that this question is a great opportunity to discuss the distinction between the process of writing a memoir or…
You can build a career as an author . . . — David Sedaris
You can build a career as an author by playing to your strengths, following your true passion, going at your own pace and never shying away from your unique voice. — David Sedaris Writers Digest Magazine, October 2013
An illusion . . . Prompt #31
Write about an illusion you had, or maybe something that you know is an illusion but want to believe anyway.
One way to learn how to write . . .
One way to learn how to write is to get a book in the genre you want to write in and use it like a text book. With different colored highlighters, highlight dialogue in one color, narration in another color, scenic descriptions in a third color. Notice how much dialogue there is compared to narration. Write notes in the margins. Use sticky notes to show where one character’s story intersects with another character leading to the hookup later in the story. Note foreshadowing. Learn how successful authors craft their novels. And some day, someone learning to write might use your book as a textbook on how to write.
Forgiveness – Prompt #30
The 2009 movie, Invictus, featuring Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman is about how Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup. As you probably know, Mandela spent 27 years in prison. After he was released and elected as South Africa’s first black president, he preached reconciliation. When he decided to support the country’s rugby team — long a symbol of white oppression — his countrymen were stunned. “Forgiveness liberates the soul,” Mandela explains to a crowd. “That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.” — Parade Magazine, December 2009 Prompt: Forgiveness. Write about the concept of forgiveness, or write about someone you could forgive, or someone who might forgive you.