Archive for the ‘Alum Experiences’ Category
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
I don’t know anyone, outside of monks and Charles Manson who spends as much time alone as I do. I’m sure they exist but they’re not within [my] earshot or sightline. Even the homeless are out there meeting new people everyday.
I nearly always feel as though I am working and creating in a vacuum. This I’ve heard and read ad nauseum goes with the territory of writing and the initial tremors of any creative process. That moment between vacant and percolating. Between idea and form. How to be at peace in those moments when it is just you and your creating; whether sitting with a character who just barged into your kitchen catching you staring at a blank page, or the countless hours that elapse as you draw the same set of lips and fists over and over and once again because it is not quite right, yet. Because it has not captured precisely the anguish, rage, joy, defeat, triumph, helplessness, the all and all at onceness that has your protagonist heaving and punching at the air. (more…)
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
In the Hero’s Journey mythic story structure, the hero hears the “call to adventure” and then makes a choice: she can refuse the call, or she can leap into the adventure.
VIDA sounded a call with The Count several years ago, and the impact of their message is still reverberating loud and clear: women are not being equally heard in the cultural conversation.
The implication of this fact is the real stunner. If you understand that storytellers shape our culture, then “Who gets to be our storytellers?” becomes a pivotal question. (more…)
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
It’s 5:30 p.m. and something’s missing. I’m standing at my kitchen island, certain I’ve forgotten an appointment. But what? Nothing’s on the calendar, everything seems in place. Still I have the niggling feeling I’m overlooking something important. My gaze wanders to the windowsill and a postcard propped up on it. The caption reads, Cedar Cottage, Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers, Langley, Washington.
There’s the answer. My body remembered what my mind did not: if I were at Hedgebrook right now, I’d be arriving in the farmhouse kitchen just in time for dinner. (more…)
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Twenty years ago I started writing seriously again after taking a long hiatus due to a pesky thing called adulthood, which involved gainful employment, getting married, moving across the Pacific Ocean and back, and struggling to stay married (glad I did). In 1993, approximately three seconds after I suggested that we take a motorcycle safety course together, the Man I Married bought a motorcycle. On our first road trip, on the back of that motorcycle, my imagination knocked around in that full-face helmet and demanded to be let out again. What else was I going to do on the back of a motorcycle other than daydream and admire MIM’s fine fanny?
Before MIM had unloaded the saddlebags (other than the ones on my thighs) when we returned home, I’d bounded inside, called my sister-in-law, and demanded the immediate return of the electric typewriter she’d borrowed. Within an hour, I was writing again, and I’ve never stopped since. (more…)
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
The first cover I saw was gorgeous, but I knew immediately it was not right for my book. And that certainty made my heart sink, because this is my very first book and this was the first and most important step in the design process and right out of the gate, I was going to have to be the bad guy.
My book is called Her Beautiful Brain. It’s a memoir about my mom and her younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease and how it changed our lives: hers, mine, everyone’s in my big, loving extended family. It’s a sandwich generation story, about raising young children while my mother started to crumble: first slowly, then very fast. It’s a late-20th-century story, about a woman who rose from poverty, weathered divorces and widowhood, went back to college and back to work, raised six children and was the strongest woman I ever knew. (more…)