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?”

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”

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”

What I Learned This Semester: In Praise of Slowness

I entered the first fiction seminar of my Accessible MFA convinced that I will never have a writing career. Five years ago, chronic illness had already destroyed one career. I was in my final year of my master’s program when I became sick. I lost jobs. I lost touch with mentors. I could no longerContinue reading “What I Learned This Semester: In Praise of Slowness”

Clinical Trial #15: Day 7

Nobody tells you that having a chronic illness is like taking on a part-time job. The first provider who typed “chronic” into my chart didn’t warn me I’d become a one-woman drug trial for years. Hey, I get it. Everyone fixated on me getting better. The possibility that might not happen was never mentioned, andContinue reading “Clinical Trial #15: Day 7”

Writing Residency 2021: 5 Things I Learned

That was one hell of a week! I learned a few things. Number one? Do not pack an entire week with only publishing, querying, and marketing workshops. Ever. If I loved business this much, I’d just go be an entrepreneur. Still, it was useful to dig deeper into the entrepreneurial aspects of a writing career.Continue reading “Writing Residency 2021: 5 Things I Learned”

My American Dream Dies Here

It was a good dream. In this dream, I owned a small, modest house in a quiet town. I sat beneath a tree and sipped hot cocoa under the stars. I worked hard as a teacher and served my students well. I paid my bills on time. I helped my neighbors. I pulled on rainContinue reading “My American Dream Dies Here”

Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model

Every few years, a white man in the mainstream literary community publishes a curmudgeonly piece about how entitled, lazy, and whiny creative writing students can be. They often point to these qualities as the only things that hold back writers, aside from another likely possibility: a lack of talent. Recently, I came across just suchContinue reading “Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model”

There Is No Normal to Go Back To

I’m happy for friends and family who, as they get vaccinated, look forward to resuming travel, family visits, and hikes with friends. The vaccine is great news not only for its potential to dramatically reduce further deaths but also for everyone who has found themselves at their wit’s end over the past year. But theContinue reading “There Is No Normal to Go Back To”

Nine Signs You Have a Bad Doctor: What I Wish I’d Known

As my husband and I learned this February, having a bad doctor can be deadly. First, before we get in too deep, I just want to acknowledge that no doctor is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and tragically, even a mistake made in good faith, with the best medical practice, can still result in death. SomeContinue reading “Nine Signs You Have a Bad Doctor: What I Wish I’d Known”