By Leslie Daniels, Spalding School of Writing Creative Fiction Faculty
One of the things I love about writing well is its wildness. You’d think there would be rules or a path, a recipe even, to the deep heart of your writing, but there is not. You must find it anew for each piece.
Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, takes place Saturday, November 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer. Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
By Eleanor Morse, Spalding School of Writing Fiction Faculty
Ocean Vuong, a soft-spoken and brilliant Vietnamese-American poet and fiction writer and a 2019 recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, said, “Often we demand of the American novel to be cohesive, a monolithic statement of a generation, but having grown up post-911, cohesion was not part of my generation’s imagination, nor our language, nor our self-identity, and I felt if I were to write my version of an American novel, it would have to look more like fragmentation.
By Julie Brickman, Spalding School of Writing Fiction Faculty
Years ago, when I was writing my first novel, I got into a new relationship. For the first few weeks, it colonized my mind and I parsed every word, gesture and intuition for meaning. One night, deep in dreamland, I got a phone call. It was Kendra Quillan, my protagonist. “Where are you?” she said, and hung up.
Have you ever turned the last page of a good book and wished you could sit down and have a meaningful conversation with the author? I had just finished reading an advance copy of Three Ways to Disappear by Katy Yocom and decided to act on that impulse.
Writers tend to like stories about the way that other writers write, the processes and habits and superstitions and the curious little quirks that define a writer’s methods. And bound up with this interest in writerly process, there is also a related obsession with something less glamorous, less romantic: speed.
writing prose again for the first time in three years. My previous blog post
detailed why I hadn’t written, and why I had been unable to write for so long: the
catastrophic illness and death of my husband, Lee. Yes, I am finally writing
again, and I’m happy to be able to say that it feels good. But because it has been
so long, I’m trying to hold the writing that I’m doing lightly: of course, I
hope it amounts to something, becomes a publishable piece and thus, a product,
but instead of focusing on that I’m trying instead to appreciate and enjoy the process, and the simple fact that I am
once again able to spend a part of my day writing, as I’ve done for most of my
By Kirby Gann, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Fiction Faculty
Similar to Beth Ann Bauman, in her excellent post of Feb. 17, character has been on my mind of late. Beth Ann speaks mostly of what makes a character interesting and complex; I’m thinking more of how one might go about discovering these aspects.
By Eleanor Morse, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Fiction Faculty
I’ve recently finished a book and a hush has fallen over my writing life, not just the stillness that comes from the end of a book, but something else. In a recent blog post, Robin Lippincott wrote eloquently about the silence that comes from personal grief. Although different, the silence I’ve been experiencing has a kinship with what Robin wrote about: a wordlessness connected with the sorrow of being a citizen of a country where lies and injustices have become commonplace, and where those who are vulnerable are ever more at risk.