Recovery, Religion and Writing

In the documentary, Bird by Bird, with Annie, a reader asked San Francisco based writer Anne Lamott what she wanted for her upcoming birthday. She said that she already had everything she wanted.  She had grown up to be a writer.

Do you too have such hopes wishes and dreams?  According to Anne it takes a lot of practice with patience but the answer to your prayers will come.  “Please God, help me get out of the way, so I can write what wants to be written,” she says when she feels herself getting stuck.

And if you’re still not writing? Here’s another word of support by the non-ordained Reverend Anne: “I saw a bumper sticker in Texas once and it said god loves you exactly the way you are and he loves you too much to let you stay like this.”  Her words are as sound as gospel.

On Beauty and Cultural Ideals

This week we talked to Annapurna Potluri about the role of beauty in her debut novel: The Grammarian, (Counterpoint Press, 2013).  

The year is 1911. Grammarian Alexandre Lautens, an ambitious French philologist, sweeps into remote India to study the Telugu language. Hosted by a local wealthy landowner and his family, Lautens arrives at a moment of change for the family. The younger, more beautiful daughter, Mohini, is about to marry, an act which will inevitably condemn her plain and disfigured older sister, Anjali, to spinsterhood.

Curious by nature, Anjali is beguiled by Lautens, and as they find an intimacy within language, an unexpected relationship develops. Regardless of what might have happened between them, Anjali’s father—thinking his daughter a tramp and Lautens a predator—kicks the both out. They fend for themselves, separately, as they try to navigate what really happened. Continue reading On Beauty and Cultural Ideals

How To Show People You’re a Writer

Making a Literary Life, by Carolyn See
Lecture at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, hosted by Barbara Abercrombie

photoCarolyn See is a Los Angeles writer who has made her way to a Literary Life (also the name of her book on writing).  She talked with us for about an hour, without notes, on what it takes to be a storyteller and how one might organize one’s life around the task.  Writing begins in thought, she says in the first chapter of her book.  If you blurt out “I…” then you complete the sentence with:”…always think Dijon mustard goes best on ham sandwiches, don’t you?”  And this is just how Carolyn talks about writing too.  With humor, charm, and a dedication to putting words on the page one after the other. Continue reading How To Show People You’re a Writer

Twists and Turns of a Supple Mind

Phillip sildenafil no prescription Lopate 
To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (Free Press, 2013).

On Tuesday Book Court hosted prolific personal essayists and nonfiction writers, Phillip Lopate.

Snuggled into the back room of Book Court, admirers and fans leaned forward, ready to laugh at Lopate’s funny, intelligent stream of consciousness prose.

And laugh they did. Lopate charmed the room with snippets from a few of his collections, including from his new delightful and rich guide on writing, To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (Free Press, 2013). Continue reading Twists and Turns of a Supple Mind

If You Want Something Done Right

Independent Publishing Panel at Spoonbill & Sugartown
w/ Nathanial Kressen, Susan Kirschbaumb, Rami Shamir, and Maggie Craig

A couple Tuesdays ago, people of all writing creeds gathered in the small Spoonbill & Sugartown book shop in Williamsburg to hear a panel of independent authors discuss the publishing industry – past, present, and future.

Spoonbill is a cozy corner of friendly staff and patrons, cat hair, as well as books from popular lit to independently consigned works of art, by authors like those on the panel that night. Continue reading If You Want Something Done Right

Honesty in Fantasy-Land

Tenth of December, by George Saunders
As read by Kate Tighe
Collage by Elise Jordan

George Saunders’ new book, “Tenth of December” is the first Saunders I’ve ever read. (YES! I HAVE been living under a rock!!). For hard core, long-term fans of Saunders, this review by the Guardian thinks he should switch it up a little, but as one of Saunders’ characters says “I tend to agree with that thing about, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Continue reading Honesty in Fantasy-Land

Baseball and The Game of Story

Chad Harbach
The Art Of Fielding: A Novel (544 pages. Little Brown and Company, 2012)

Read by Emily 

The Art of Fielding is like a great baseball game. It is wonderful for the usual things: the nice weather the day may have brought, the people you came with, the open air stadium, the first bite of your hot dog, and the first slurp of beer. The big excitement though, comes only at the very end, when one of the players pulls a fast one and the whole team comes together as a cohesive unit that succeeds right when you expected they might fail. Continue reading Baseball and The Game of Story