Avoiding ‘Truthiness’ When Writing Your Life

"Did that really happen?" It's a question every memoirist and personal essayist faces. Ideally the writer will answer "Yes." It gets awkward when you have to say, "Yes, but..." In the October 2005 debut episode of his influential TV show, Stephen Colbert gave the world the word truthiness. He said truthiness is when you're talking …

Continue reading Avoiding ‘Truthiness’ When Writing Your Life

How Technology is Advancing the Arts

Every artist on some level understands that the actions of an artist are dictated by technology. Before Gutenberg invented the printing press, writers were far more limited in page count with wound codexes. The sound amplification technology provided by a piano allowed compositions intended for far larger audiences than a harpsichord. We focus on Kindles …

Continue reading How Technology is Advancing the Arts

AWP Nugget: What You Missed at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

I've returned from snowy Boston and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. It was a mixed bag for me. There were a couple of sessions that were really solid, and I met a handful of interesting editors on the Bookfair floor that I may follow up with at some point. I also attended …

Continue reading AWP Nugget: What You Missed at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

MFA Nugget: How Much is Too Much?

BOSTON -- In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell cites a scientific study that sought to determine if consumers equate more with better. They set up displays of various jams in a supermarket that customers could sample. When there were only six selections, a lot of people stopped. When there were two dozen, nearly everyone kept …

Continue reading MFA Nugget: How Much is Too Much?

AWP Nugget: The Bubbling Debate over Self-Publishing

BOSTON -- The fireworks didn't come during the panel session, which is a good thing, because every square inch of the floor was covered by attendees. Pyrotechnics in rooms violating fire codes never end well. But the figurative fireworks came that night, assisted with alcohol. I refer here to the third rail of our modern …

Continue reading AWP Nugget: The Bubbling Debate over Self-Publishing

AWP Nugget: Takeaways from Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott

BOSTON -- If you're given an hour to sit down and listen to two Nobel-Prize-winning writers, you do so. I am still in my infancy when it comes to my understanding and appreciation of poetry and poets, but I made a point to attend the Thursday evening 8:30 pm keynote with Seamus Heaney and Derek …

Continue reading AWP Nugget: Takeaways from Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott

AWP Nugget: Tips for Writers Looking for the Tenure-Track Teaching Job

BOSTON -- You love to write. You need to earn a living. Why not teach what you love? You're not the first person to think of that. Every person with an MFA has entertained that fantasy, and many more writers beyond that. Here at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2013 conference, four writing …

Continue reading AWP Nugget: Tips for Writers Looking for the Tenure-Track Teaching Job