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Showing posts from July, 2010

Why I Write: A Guest Post

I am thrilled.  I had the opportunity to write a guest post on Why I Write at Beth Hoffman's blog.  Check it out here.  Beth Hoffman is the author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt a beautiful novel that everyone, and I mean everyone, should read.

Just Another Firery Redhead

I like to consider myself a rationalist, someone not privy to emotional outbursts or reactionary thought.  I like to think I can balance my experience with education and make informed decisions rather than simply living through what others might perceive as my destined journey through life.  But as much as I like to say these things, I am a firey person, from my red hair and temper to my unrestrained drive toward achievement.   When I moved to Texas two years ago, to a small apartment complex in San Antonio between two mega churches adorned with signs like "He determines your path, it's up to you to follow" I worried I would not fit in.  Only a few days in my new home, a neighbor who was drinking a can of beer as he walked his dog approached me to introduce himself (yes, a version of this scene came up in a piece of fiction).  We exchanged few words of introduction before he asked me if I had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal savior, and when I told him I …

The Value of Local Writing Groups

A few weeks ago, I posted a mock-plea for a mentor (mock, that is, unless anyone wants to take on the role).  A few months before that, I posted a worrisome rant about leaving graduate school and, consequently, an accountable and invaluable community of readers and writers who were guaranteed to be there.  Apparently I need writers around me all the time or I panic.

It's probably no surprise that I am part of a writing group in San Antonio, a hodgepodge of talented writers, who contribute varied perspectives and advice while also producing an eclectic mixture of submissions.  We meet every month (we all have day jobs, and even this is stretching it), but it's only after graduating that I realize how valuable this small community of writers is to my own development and literary peace of mind.

Groups like this don't always work so well.  I've heard horror stories about friends joining groups that are harsh and competitive or worse still, filled with people-pleasing hacks…

A Week of Nothing -or- My Summer Vacation

I spent the last few days off of work, and although there was plenty I could have done: make an over-due dentist appointment, rearrange my apartment, clean out my closet, organize my paperwork, make a budget for the next few months… I didn’t do any of it. Actually, now that I have it all written down, I’ll probably start chipping away at the list.
But no, over the last few days, I did very little outside of keeping my living area clean, masterminding my syllabi for my fall classes, exercising from time to time, eating, reading (Nabokov's The Original of Laura, until I started feeling guilty about reading something that a dying man wanted destroyed) and bad-mouthing LeBron James for doing the very thing most successful people do when they’re from the Midwest: leave it behind. My energy has been rather low, so inaction suited me well enough—I didn’t feel jittery or guilty like I usually do when I’m not productive. Oh, and I got a little writing done, though not enough to be proud of.…

Mentor Wanted: promising new writer is actively seeking companionship and guidance...

My father has always been my artistic mentor, and he taught me how valuable a creative mind is, how important it is to respect the creative process and not bog it down with over-analysis. But when I decided to become a writer, around age twenty, and I began to study this single art exclusively, I thought it would only be a matter of time before I found a writing mentor. I waited, I grew impatient; but, much to my dismay, no one applied to this unannounced position I wanted filled.

I was sure that I would find that one established writer, someone who had reached many of the goals I made for myself, and that this one person (probably a professor) would fall so head-over-heels in love with my writing and promise that s/he would become a personal guide as I embarked on the writing life. This person would become more than a professor and friend; this person would hold my hand.

I've found many such people who fulfilled this role in the classroom. The first of these mentors and one of m…