MFA Nugget: Struggling with Immersion

MONTPELIER, VERMONT: I'm here at my fourth MFA in Writing residency at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, physically at least. I've already attended a lecture and a three-faculty reading, consumed a moderately acceptable dining-hall meal, and signed up for a student reading (I'm up the night of the 3rd). But I feel disconnected, in …

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3 Steps For Creative Writers to Tell it Slant

Who's up for a little creative insight from Emily Dickinson? Tell all the Truth but tell it slantSuccess in Circuit liestoo bright for our infirm DelightThe Truth's superb surpriseAs Lightning to the Children easedWith explanation kindThe Truth must dazzle graduallyOr every man be blind When I started my MFA in Writing program nearly two years …

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Struggling with the Supposed Distinction of Literary vs. Commercial

In three weeks I will drive to Montpelier, Vermont, to begin my final semester in an MFA in Writing program. Over the last few weeks I have devoted every spare minute to polishing the first draft of my work-in-progress--a travel memoir--so that I can hand the manuscript to whichever faculty member I am paired with …

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Guest Post: Shaping a Heart

Is your creativity guided more when given structure or chaos? An overly simple query, perhaps, but a topic that has generated some compelling discussions here at The Artist's Road. Today I'm offering a beautiful new contribution to the discussion from guest blogger Callie Feyen. Callie is a blogger, an MFA student, a freelance writer, a …

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What Can We Learn from Nonfiction Writers Who Make Things Up?

There has been a tremendous amount of digital ink spilled this week on the fall of writing wunderkind Jonah Lehrer, whose book Imagine: How Creativity Works, it was revealed this week, contains fabricated quotes of Bob Dylan. Lehrer's publisher has pulled the book. His employer, The New Yorker, has accepted his resignation. And people like …

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Who Has Your Creativity Sold Out?

Is your creativity selling out someone in your life? Joan Didion famously wrote that "writers are always selling somebody out." Songwriters, painters, novelists and other creatives channel their life experiences when producing their art. Take my post on Tuesday, in which I passed along advice I heard at a recent writer's conference about building a …

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Lit Journal Nugget: fugue

Today we'll take a look at the literary journal fugue, which like e.e. cummings eschews capitalization. I discovered this journal last year via NewPages, and picked up a copy last month at AWP. It is edited by university graduate students, and given its quality, it appears no worse the wear for lack of a permanent …

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Ignoring the Knock of My Muse

It's been two weeks since I touched my creative writing work-in-progress. Oh, I've got plenty of excuses. I spent the last few days of my last MFA packet focusing on my critical essays. Then I had to finish a freelance project. Next up, flying to Chicago for AWP. I blogged from there every day, but …

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AWP Nugget: Finding the RIGHT Voice(s)

AWP, CHICAGO: "As a beginning writer I was told to find my voice," as if it were something lost, Sue William Silverman said at a Friday AWP panel titled "Containing Multitudes: Shifting Voices in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction." "Was it under the bed?" Then Sue--author of the best-selling memoirs Because I Remember Terror, Father, I …

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AWP Nugget: Selling Out Everyone You Love (in Brevity)

AWP, CHICAGO: Does a writer of memoir--or even a fiction writer painting true stories in camouflage--invariably sell out friends and loved ones? Five nonfiction writers wrestled with that topic here at the first day of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference. I summarized the panel for the Brevity blog; you can find …

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