The Ugly Misogyny at the Heart of Sally Rooney’s “Beautiful World”

SPOILERS! TRIGGER WARNING: abuse, sexual assault, misogyny, men’s violence against women, violent porn I fell in love with Sally Rooney’s fiction back in April 2019 when her second novel, Normal People, hit the shelves. I admired her astute psychological observations, rendered in prose that scraped away all pretense. Some readers felt it was an expertContinue reading “The Ugly Misogyny at the Heart of Sally Rooney’s “Beautiful World””

Want a Creative Hot Streak?

Last week was an exciting one for artists interested in scientific studies of creativity. Researchers (Lu Liu, Nima Dehmamy, Jillian Chown, C. Lee Giles & Dashun Wang) published an article in Nature demonstrating that most artistic hot streaks are preceded by exploration as artists try out numerous forms and media. The researchers define exploration as a period of intense “experimentationContinue reading “Want a Creative Hot Streak?”

10 Stages of the Job Loss Roller Coaster, or First Thoughts on the Chinese Government Banning Me from K-12 Education Because I’m A Foreigner

1. Denial This won’t affect me. I’m fine. 2. Numbness I guess this is happening. Sure. But it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters anymore. Who cares? 3. Minimization Okay, so I’m losing job. I’ll be fine. I have a master’s degree, a teaching certificate, and years of experience. I’ll find a job in no time. It’sContinue reading “10 Stages of the Job Loss Roller Coaster, or First Thoughts on the Chinese Government Banning Me from K-12 Education Because I’m A Foreigner”

A Few More Lit Mags for Your Consideration

We’re entering the high season for literary journal submissions. As students and professors return to their universities (hopefully masked and distanced), they unlock their publishing offices, flip the light switch, and boot up the computers. They’re just about ready for the coming deluge of our work, from pandemic fiction to alien abductions. Whatever your thingContinue reading “A Few More Lit Mags for Your Consideration”

Story Structure Reflects Your Worldview

So last week I tried this wacky writing exercise I came up with. Wacky, because it’s time consuming. (If you’re feeling wacky, too, you can check it out on the Fiction Workshop syllabus under Week 4). Basically, I took a short story that wasn’t working. Well, okay, fine. It sucked. It really, really sucked. ButContinue reading “Story Structure Reflects Your Worldview”

Forget Finding Your Voice, Find Your Subject

All this hand-wringing over writers finding their voice. Find your voice, writing instructors told me. Here’s how to find your voice, craft talks assured me. Once you find your voice, it will unlock everything, writing books promised. I’m starting to question, though, that voice is the big deal everyone seems to think it is. I’mContinue reading “Forget Finding Your Voice, Find Your Subject”

Advanced Fiction Workshop Syllabus

It took me longer than planned after heat waves and migraines, but hey! It’s done! Here at last is the course syllabus for this semester in the Accessible MFA. Currently, I’m hovering around Week 4, but remember in this MFA (not accredited but open to all), each “week” can take as long as you want.Continue reading “Advanced Fiction Workshop Syllabus”

10 Steps Closer to Living Legally in a Tiny House

As many of you know, my husband had a health crisis earlier this year, and the ongoing medical costs of his recovery have tanked our finances. Since full recovery from a pulmonary embolism and DVT can take up to one or two years, we had hoped that relocating might preserve what security we have left.Continue reading “10 Steps Closer to Living Legally in a Tiny House”

Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 2

Well, it took me long enough! But I did finally get around to finishing and reviewing my final three textbooks from last semester’s fiction seminar in the Accessible MFA. If you’re looking for books on writing craft and philosophy, check out the titles below to see if any of these sound good. (And by theContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 2”

8 Ways to Help Someone Who’s Sick

Most of my life I’ve been pretty clueless. When someone has revealed that they’re sick or broke or a loved one has just died or their life is otherwise falling apart, I kind of panic. I don’t know what to do. I want to help, but I don’t want to imply that I think theyContinue reading “8 Ways to Help Someone Who’s Sick”