Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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Compiles ten years of essays from 55 writers, including Ray Bradbury, Stanley Karnow, and John Edgar Wideman, discussing how they write and where their ideas come from.
Celebrated author Ellen Gilchrist has played many roles-writer and speaker, wife and lover, mother and grandmother. But she never tackled the role of teacher. Offered the opportunity to teach creative writing at the University of Arkansas, she took up the challenge and ventured into unknown territory. In the process of teaching more than two hundred students since her first class in 2000, she has found inspiration in their lives and ambitions and in the challenge of conveying to them the lessons she has learned from living and writing. The Writing Life brings together fifty essays and vignettes centered on the transforming magic of literature and the teaching and writing of it. A portion of the collection discusses the delicate balance between an artistic life and family commitments, especially the daily pressures and frequent compromises faced by a young mother. Gilchrist next focuses on the process of writing itself with essays ranging from "How I Wrote a Book of Short Stories in Three Months" to "Why Is Rewriting so Hard?" Several essays discuss her appreciation of other writers, from Shakespeare to Larry McMurtry, and the lessons she learned from them. Eudora Welty made an indelible impact on Gilchrist's work. When Gilchrist takes on the task of teaching, her essays reveal an enriched understanding of the role writing plays in any life devoted to the craft. Humorous and insightful, she assesses her own abilities as an instructor and confronts the challenge of inspiring students to attain the discipline and courage to pursue the sullen art. Some of these pieces have been previously published in magazines, but most are unpublished and all appear here in book form for the first time.
A unique, candid and intimate survey of the life and work of 12 of our most acclaimed writers: Patricia Grace, Tessa Duder, Owen Marshall, Philip Temple, David Hill, Joy Cowley, Vincent O'Sullivan, Albert Wendt, Marilyn Duckworth, Chris Else, Fiona Kidman and Witi Ihimaera. Constructed as Q&As with experienced oral historian Deborah Shepard, they offer a marvellous insight into their careers. As a group they are now the 'elders' of New Zealand literature; they forged the path for the current generation. Together the authors trace their publishing and literary history from 1959 to 2018, through what might now be viewed as a golden era of publishing into the more unsettled climate of today. They address universal themes: the death of parents and loved ones, the good things that come with ageing, the components of a satisfying life, and much more. And they give advice on writing. The book has an historical continuity, showing fruitful and fascinating links between individuals who have negotiated the same literary terrain for more than sixty years. To further honour them are magnificent photo portraits by distinguished photographer John McDermott, commissioned by the publisher for this project.
Frederick Busch has an enduring love affair with great books, and here he brilliantly communicates his passion to us all. Whether expounding on Melville or Dickens, or celebrating Hemingway or O'Hara, he explains what literature can ineffably reveal about our own lives. For Busch, there was no other recourse save the "dangerous profession;" it was to be his calling, and in these piercing essays, he demonstrates that we as a culture ignore the fundamental truths about fiction only at our own peril. With keen ruminations that recall the critcs of yore- Edmund Wilson, Lionel Trilling, and Irving Howe-Busch, in this era of moral indirection, has revealed how the literature of our past is the key to our survival in the future.
As the field of composition studies became more sophisticated in its understanding of research, the designs and assumptions underlying the early work were called into question. Researchers were challenged to design studies that were sensitive to the varying contexts in which writers write and to the ways their own roles shaped their investigations. The more comprehensive studies called for by these critiques are only now beginning to appear. This volume presents some articles in which writers and what they do are at the center of inquiry. The focus is on what actually occurs as people write and how they make sense of what they are doing. Choosing such a focus grants human action central importance and enacts the belief that looking closely at individuals can be a primary starting point for understanding them and their worlds. Other papers take the researcher's shaping role into account. The integrity of such work rests not so much on a lifeless detachment from the phenomena being studied as on the author's vital engagement, and on a faithful rendering of what has been observed. This includes the author revealing his or her own impact of what has been seen and said. In the broadest sense, composing is something we all do: the students and parents and writers and teachers who serve as subjects of research and those who write the research itself. It is what each of us is engaged in when we shape our understanding of life through the writing we do. And it is what can continue to light the way in composition studies for it illuminates what still makes this inquiry so intriguing and so rich -- that only human beings have this capacity to look and see more, to create new texts and new work, and in the creating compose their way to new understandings and new selves.
Do you want to write but have no idea where to start? Building a Writing Life is the beginner writer’s guide you’ve been looking for! You want to be a writer. You want to start a writing habit, share your story, and make some real progress on your writing dreams. You want to find time to write and make room in your life for everything from daily journaling to writing books and beyond. You want to build a writing life. But how do you start? Building a Writing Life is a straightforward, step-by-step guide to integrating writing into your life so you can make steady progress on your goals. Whether you write for personal reasons or dream of more commercial success, you CAN fit writing into your already busy life. With simple, actionable steps you can start taking today, this easy-to-read guide will take you from an aspiring writer to the real deal. In this book, you’ll… • Make the mental commitment to your writing dreams. • Conquer your fears and doubts to start the story of your heart. • Discover and nurture ideas. • Build a regular writing habit. • Motivate yourself to write on days when you don’t feel like it. • Find and make room in your schedule, even if there’s no time to write. • Battle distractions and productively use your writing time. • Discover your ideal writing circumstances and how to think outside the textbox when they aren’t available. • Fine-tuning your writing process by setting better goals and embracing what works for you. … and, most important of all… • Become a real writer at last!
Part memoir, part handbook, part survey of the contemporary literary scene, Joan Frank's "Because You Have To: A Writing Life" is a collection of essays that, taken together, provide a walking tour of the writing life. Frank's aim is to form a coherent vision, one that may provide some communion about realities of the writer's vocation that have struck her as rarely revealed.Frank offers what she has learned as a writer not only to other writers, but to those to whom good writing matters. Her insights about "thinking on paper" are never dogmatic or pontifical; rather, they are cordial and intellectually welcoming. Original, witty, and practical, Frank ably steers us through the journey of her own life as a writer, as well as through the careers and work of other writers. Her subjects range widely, from the "boot camp" conditioning of marketing work to squaring off with rejection and envy; from sustaining belief in art's necessity to the baffling subjectivity of literary perception and the magical books that nourish writers. Frank's personal journey is wonderfully told, so that what in these essays is particular becomes useful and universal. "Once in a blue moon a book on writing comes along that reads as though it's speaking directly to you. "Because You Have To" is just that: an honest and wise and brave account of what it means to be a writer in this odd, new century. I recommend to you this rare thing, a book packed full of useful information that is also a work of art." --John McNally, author of "After the Workshop""What I treasure is Joan Frank's voice, placed so beautifully in concert with those of a multitude of writers in our tradition. She has turned research into art and advice into song. No matter where you are in your artistic evolution, you will appreciate this writer blues, writer-opera, writer-jazz." --David Huddle, author of "La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl "and "Nothing Can Make Me Do This" "Wittily, elegantly, disputatiously, passionately, Joan Fra
Anya Seton was the bestselling author of 10 historical novels, including the masterpieces Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, which are still widely beloved over 60 years after their original publication. Yet there has never before been a book-length biography of this great American writer. Ann Seton was born in 1904 the daughter of two celebrity writers: Ernest Thompson Seton, a renowned naturalist and illustrator, and Grace Gallatin Seton, a women's suffrage leader who received medals for her service in France during World War I. The pair's literary output gave them enduring fame. As a teenager, Ann explicitly rejected her parents' careers because, she said, they showed her the drudgery of a writer's life. Still, she was always confident that she had inherited her parents' talent. At age 36 and self-renamed Anya, she placed her first novel with a major publisher. Anya the author was protective of her private life yet also mused, &“I suppose I write myself over and over again in my heroines.&” She reinvented herself within carefully researched historical settings and biographical materials that provided both escape and wish-fulfillment. In journal entries, letters, and &“self-analyses,&” she provides an intimate study of what it meant to her to be a writer. She describes her creative process along with the difficulties of balancing writing with th duties of homemaking and raising three children, and she expresses her gratitude or more often frustration toward editors and reviewers. A compelling portrait emerges of a deeply dedicated writer whose life was full of inner turmoil, most of it self-inflicted. She wrote probably her own best epitaph while working on her masterpiece, Katherine, published in 1954: &“My forte is story, and a peculiarly meticulous (fearful, yes) desire to weave historical fact into story. Make history come alive and as exciting as the past is to me.&”
Wordsmithy is for writers of every sort, whether experienced veterans, still just hoping, or somewhere in between. This book exhorts writers to explore the world, to read incessantly, to love mechanical helps, to be fine with being lousy (for a while), to learn languages, and to keep a commonplace book. Through a series of out-of-the-ordinary lessons, each with its own takeaway points and recommended readings, Douglas Wilson provides indispensable guidance, showing how to develop the writer's craft and the kind of life from which good writing comes.
A prolific and award-winning writer, Lee Martin has put pen to paper to offer his wisdom, honed during thirty years of teaching the oh-so-elusive art of writing. Telling Stories is intended for anyone interested in thinking more about the elements of storytelling in short stories, novels, and memoirs. Martin clearly delineates helpful and practical techniques for demystifying the writing process and provides tools for perfecting the art of the scene, characterization, detail, point of view, language, and revision—in short, the art of writing. His discussion of the craft in his own life draws from experiences, memories, and stories to provide a more personal perspective on the elements of writing. Martin provides encouragement by sharing what he’s learned from his journey through frustrations, challenges, and successes. Most important, Telling Stories emphasizes that you are not alone on this journey and that writers must remain focused on what they love: the process of moving words on the page. By focusing on that purpose, Martin contends, the journey will always take you where you’re meant to go.
The desire to create, to write, to fulfil our artistic dreams is a powerful human need. Yet the number of people who make a living solely by their pen is actually quite small. What does that mean for the rest of us, the self-described writing geeks, who are passionate about writing and who still want to sustain successful literary lives? What does it really mean to find time to build a rewarding writing life while pursuing a career, being a partner or raising a family, in the distracted, time-deprived, 21st-century? In The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life, based on her Huffington Post blog of the same name, Stephanie Vanderslice shares the secrets and tools to developing a successful, rewarding writing practice in a way that inspires the reader to persevere through the inevitable lows and even the highs of a literary life, so that anyone can pursue the path to realizing their artistic dreams.
A Likely Story recounts the writing life of Robert Kroetsch, one of Canada's foremost writers and literary theorists. With incisive wit, humor and penetrating insight, Robert Kroetsch follows the events of his life, both real and literary, that have moved him from the bareness of desk and computer into the secret places at the heart of the writing experience. Throughout this chronicle, he toys ironically with the notion that he ceases to be himself when he writes, that writing allows him to escape from the confines of self into exciting varieties of the essay, story and poem. A Likely Story records in loving detail that escape. It is a remarkable assemblage of confessional personal essays, one of the principal elegiac poems of out time, a cowboy poem and speculative pieces that defy literary classification. Through them all Robert Kroetsch enters the landscape of recollection, discovery, delight, self-deception, play, grief and revelation, and through them all he insists with customary boldness: "I am attempting to write an autobiography in which I do not appear."
Nadine Gordimer began her writing life at a relatively young age. In 1991, that life received the ultimate recognition when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In this volume, Gordimer, who has been described by her peers as a formidable visitor from the future, the leviathan of South African letters and almost always as a gifted writer with extraordinary powers of observation, is paid homage by fellow writers from South Africa and other parts of the world. The book comprises readings, tributes, fiction, poetry, interviews and photographs which engage directly and indirectly with Gordimer's work and her still unfolding legacy.
Writers' lives are endlessly fascinating for the reading public and literary scholars alike. By examining the self-representation of authors across the schism between Victorianism and Modernism via the First World War, this study offers a new way of evaluating biographical context and experience in the individual creative process at a crucial point in world and literary history. Writing Life explores how and why a select group of early twentieth-century writers, including Edmund Gosse, Henry James, Siegfried Sassoon and Dorothy Richardson, adapted the model of the German Romantic Kunstlerroman, or artist narrative, for their autobiographical writing. Instead of (mis)reading these autobiographies as historical documentation, Pooler examines how these authors conduct a Romantic-style conversation about literature through literature as a means of reconfirming the role of the artist in the face of shifting values and the cataclysm of the Great War. "
In this memoir, novelist Craig Nova explores the interconnections between his work as a writer, his personal life, and his passion for fly-fishing. Nova leads the reader into his courtship, marriage, the birth of his children, and his life as a father, husband, writer, friend, citizen, and angler. Just as the author observes the life of the elusive and beautiful brook trout in the tea-colored streams, he finds interconnections to his daily lifehe teaches his daughter to build an igloo; he deals with the disappointment of a very public mean-spirited review of his much-anticipated novel; he gazes at his wife-to-be in her hammock by a stream; he finds himself the victim of a random blackmailer. Unpredictable and keenly observed, Nova leads us through the terrain of the life of an artist. The one constant is the stream and the brook trout which offer both respite from the demands of his life and a wellspring of inspiration and strength. It is a paean to nature and the beauty of the brook trout.
James Watson's fame as a scientist and research leader overshadows his considerable achievements as an innovator in the form and style of scientific communication. This book surveys Watson's books and essays from the perennially best selling The Double Helix through his classic textbooks of the 1960s and 70s, polemics on ethical questions about genetic technology, to more recent works of autobiography.
Top American writers discuss writing, books, censorship, book tours, journalism, inspiration, research, characterization, and the literary community