Things I Can Say About Ryan Boudinot Now That I’ve Read His Essay

There’s this essay making the rounds on my social media. It’s called “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One,” by Ryan Boudinot. I’ve been seeing it for days, shared by friends and former professors, writers  whose work I love, teachers whose work I admire. I’ve been avoidingContinue reading “Things I Can Say About Ryan Boudinot Now That I’ve Read His Essay”

A left-hand turn

Last Tuesday night I watched a blender fall from my kitchen cabinet and reflexively I reached to catch it. I was either too fast or too slow, because the blender hit the granite countertop and shattered just as my hand arrived. In effect, I wound up punching quarter-inch-thick, cut glass, resulting in an inch-long slice along myContinue reading “A left-hand turn”

How a writing retreat becomes a writing life

Writing is work. And I’ve been working damned hard for a long time to realize that. I mean that verb, realize, in the transitive sense: to bring into being, to make this my reality. So it’s always a bit artificial, really, to go on a “writing retreat,” because that makes it seem that I’m withdrawing from theContinue reading “How a writing retreat becomes a writing life”

The first short story I ever wrote

I was in ninth grade. I was taking home-ec because I wanted to learn to cook, but we weren’t always in the kitchens — often, our class sat in desks and did bookwork, which I tended to get through quickly. So home-ec soon became my daydreaming time, and so I could look busy, I took toContinue reading “The first short story I ever wrote”

Winter writing retreat, day 9

Okay, so I haven’t actually done a lot of writing today. I certainly intended to, but this morning I got an email notice that some books I’d put on hold at the library had arrived, so I went to pick them up and they’re an absolute TROVE! So it’s been more of a “reading retreat.”Continue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 9”

Winter writing retreat, day 8

Today is going to be another late-writing day. Which is fine — there’s a reason my mother cross-stitched this for me a few years ago: So I’m up for it. But I’m running late because today has been an on-again/off-again writing day, not much of a “retreat” at all. I’m off the novel at the moment,Continue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 8”

Winter writing retreat, day 7

Today has been a light day, folks, but that’s okay. Seventh days are traditionally restful days anyway, and this has certainly been restful! (I slept late, AND I got a massage!) Besides, it’s the solstice, so I’m celebrating the holiday by chilling out. Happy Yule, everyone! That doesn’t mean I haven’t done any work, ofContinue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 7”

Winter writing retreat, day 6

Today has been a quiet, rainy day (rainy even by Portland standards), which has been perfect for getting work done. It’s so quiet and cozy that I even came out of my study to write on the couch while my wife blogged beside me and the cats curled up nearby. Which is to say, IContinue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 6”

Winter writing retreat, day 5

Here I am blogging before I’m even finished writing, but today that’s because I’m enjoying a FULL day of writing and it’s not over yet. (My wife is entertaining company this evening, so I get to retreat to my study all night if I want to. Seriously: one of the most important things to any successful homeContinue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 5”

Winter writing retreat, day 4

I figured folks might find this post useful, so I thought I’d go ahead and write it before I get to work. Yes, you’re reading that right. It’s 10:30 at night and I’m just now getting to the writing. The plan today was to take the morning off — we had some errands to runContinue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 4”