Deb Vanasse | Dirty Secrets of Revision and Editing

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I’ve warned you before—I’m obsessed with gardening. Especially this year, when after thirty-six years in Alaska, I moved to the Oregon Coast, where people informed me that everything would grow bigger and faster than I ever expected. It does. For the connections with writing, I blame Natalie Goldberg, whose wisdom I shared most recently when talking with adolescents in a treatment … Read More

Those Who Can, Teach

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I’ll admit that I never really nailed all of the grammar rules until I became a high school English teacher.  I firmly believe that the best way to learn something deeply is to teach it to someone else. Good teachers spend time considering their subject from all angles, pulling it apart, and putting it back together in a way that … Read More

Kathleen Tarr: Pursuing the Spiritual in Writing

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Thomas Merton with the Dalai Lama, 1968 “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat,  or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me  what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” —Thomas … Read More

How to “do” the Internet as an Author

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The internet is down at my house. Or close to it. I’m getting connection intermittently and slowly. My frustration and sense of isolation reminds me how dependent I am on the internet for work and for companionship. Perhaps this is the plight of many writers; working alone at our desks to create a world with our words, but how to … Read More

Deb: Jumpstart Your Writing

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  Image from You love to write. Why, then, can it be so hard to get started—or to finish a project that you began with enthusiasm? An abundance of metaphors prove that this affliction is nearly universal among writers. Your muse needs to visit. Your creative well needs filling. Your batteries need recharging. Whenever I teach a writing workshop, … Read More

Get Back to Your Writing This Fall

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Summer in Alaska is a full-steam ahead, get-it-all-done, hangout/work-outside kind of time. If you’re anything like me, you end up sliding in September exhausted and maybe a little disoriented. Did you write anything this summer? Did you manage to make the time to devote to your novel or poetry or creative nonfiction essays? Maybe not. But September is a great … Read More

Lawrence David Weiss: The Navajo Rug Mystery

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  In the first half of the 1800s hand-woven Navajo blankets were typically coarsely woven and very plain. They featured the natural color of sheep wool with perhaps a contrasting stripe or two at the edges. During the last half of the 1800s Navajo weavings (increasingly smaller carpets rather than blankets) were frequently high quality, multicolored, and complex in design. … Read More

Sandra Kleven: Embracing Icons

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Artwork by Sandra Kleven One may feel an inclination to adore famous poets. To be impressed beyond ease of expression. To see the greatest of poets as nearly holy, and the greatest poems as personal touchstones. “You do not have to be good…” Mary Oliver   “This is the way the world ends…” T. S. Eliot “And the lily, how … Read More

Bryan Fierro: What Cha Talk’n ‘Bout Willis?: Developing Original Dialogue

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Bryan Fierro On Saturday, Feb. 21, Bryan Fierro will be teaching a 49 Writers workshop on developing original dialogue. Here’s what you can expect: This class is designed to explore the story and character possibilities unlocked by timely and original dialogue.  What does that mean? We know that dialogue functions to further story, conflict, and character, but are we doing … Read More