“Lower your standards and keep writing.” --Willliam Stafford
“Most commitments that keep me from my writing are masks that I put up to hide my fear and my failure to do what I need and want most to do. If my belief in my own work is strong, other commitments will adjust themselves. Human beings have free will. “If I could speak to myself as an 18-year-old, I would say, ‘You can say ‘no’ to the demands of your immature mother. You can insist on some privacy, some time of your own.’ If I could speak to myself as a young mother of four children, I would say, ‘You could nap with the children, then in the solitude of night or dawn, write.’ Regardless of our particular circumstances, the struggle goes on to keep at our work. If I could speak to myself just this morning when I answered the phone and the mail instead of writing, I’d say, ‘You ... [Continue Reading]
"Cure for an obsession: Get another one." --Mason Cooley
Write a history of your obsessions using a maximum of 20 words. No hyphenated words allowed. 20 words max. No cheating. It's having to pare down your list that makes this an interesting assignment. Make every word count.
Here's a sample response from my son Eli, who was given the assignment, for a college application, to use 20 words to describe himself. It was his response to that assignment that gave me the idea for this prompt. If you're not around 17-year-old techy kids, you may not recognize the items on Eli's list, but it will give you the idea. In his case, the title counted as two of his words. I'll give you those two for free. Twenty words without the title. Go.
This will ... [Continue Reading]
“Digging up the dark world, the things you don’t remember, releases a lot of energy. Brings to light things that have been covered up for a long time and they snap and crackle. Usually we try to control what we remember. Control leads to dull writing. “…Lose control. Let the mute, the silent speak. Your memoir should be a large field, capable of embracing whatever comes up. If you avoid a corner or crag, the reader will feel it. “No one every died of writing in her notebook what is hidden or dangerous. You might cry—or laugh—but not die.” --Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir