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 …

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What Leads You to Choose the Next Book You’ll Read?

I'm grateful to The Washington Post for publishing on Saturday my letter to the editor. My beef was with the paper's nonfiction book reviews. With novels, the reviewers break down both the story and the writing. But far too often, for nonfiction books The Post recruits an expert in the field, who then critiques the …

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MFA Nugget: Are You an ‘Ear’ or an ‘Eye’ Writer?

MONTPELIER, VERMONT -- Do you write with your eyes or with your ears? I write with my fingers--it's a lot easier to type or grip a pen--but sarcasm aside, I learned a good insight on creative writing in my workshop here at my MFA in Writing residency at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. It …

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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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