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?”

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”

The Writing Residency Without the Residency

Life is in chaos, medical bills keep rolling in, we’re moving within six months, and who knows what’s happening with this 100-degree heatwave hitting Seattle. But one thing I’m sure of? My annual homeschool MFA writing residency. Most low-residency MFA programs require at least two residencies for a cumulative total of 20 to 30 days.Continue reading “The Writing Residency Without the Residency”

My Life Is Out of Control, So I’m Trying Goals

Some people scoff at goal-setting. They think it’s new age-y. Or they think it’s fear-driven. Or they think what’s the point? Life isn’t in our control anyway. Which for many of us—especially the lower our incomes, the poorer our neighborhoods, the more marginalized our gender and orientation, the darker our skin, and the more healthContinue reading “My Life Is Out of Control, So I’m Trying Goals”

Spring Semester Scandal at My MFA

CONTENT WARNING Now that I’ve finished my literary theory class, it’s on to the next course in my Accessible MFA: a fiction seminar. Full disclosure, I copied a lot of this from novelist Lily Hoang’s syllabus, which she generously shared on HTML Giant. Of course I chose my own textbooks, set up my own schedule,Continue reading “Spring Semester Scandal at My MFA”

Four Reasons to Take a Pandemic Vacation

So here’s the thing. I need a vacation. You probably do, too. But we all know there’s no such thing as a vacation from health problems. Whether it’s chronic migraines, PTSD, or any other long-term health challenge, there’s no getting away from it. Wherever we go, there it is. The pandemic can make a vacationContinue reading “Four Reasons to Take a Pandemic Vacation”

Ten-Year Blogaversary!

I launched this blog ten years ago this month. Since December 2010, it’s been a wild ride, packed with ups and downs. I’ve divorced an abusive husband. I’ve performed again as a dancer. I’ve been assaulted—and assaulted again. I’ve graduated with my master’s degree in education. I’ve been felled by chronic illness so hard thatContinue reading “Ten-Year Blogaversary!”

Why Safe Communities for Artists Matter

When I began my Accessible MFA last fall, I had two reasons. First, chronic migraines limit my functionality to the point that sometimes I can’t work for days, weeks, or even months. Keeping up with graduate-level coursework and meeting weekly deadlines is no longer possible. Second, I can’t afford it. With the struggle to workContinue reading “Why Safe Communities for Artists Matter”

Those 2020 Writing Goals: One Month Follow-Up

So five weeks ago, I made a deal with myself. Write when chronic illness allows me to, but shoot for three to four days a week. And on those three or four days each week, just do what I can. If I can only write for five minutes, then that’s five minutes of jotting downContinue reading “Those 2020 Writing Goals: One Month Follow-Up”

Writing with Chronic Illness

This week I came right up against a wall. Writing can be tough for anybody. Writing a book is even harder. But attempting to write a book with chronic illness? Even Flannery O’Connor said screw it when she was diagnosed with lupus and had to move back home, trading her fabulous life among Manhattan’s literatiContinue reading “Writing with Chronic Illness”