Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good News: Story in Shenandoah, Essay in PMS

How exciting that two publications coincide for a flurry of excitement in my little life!

My short-short story “Acquiescence” appears in a special flash fiction section of the new issue of Shenandoah, and NO ONE is excused from reading it because

A.  It’s only 594 words and will take about two minutes to read

Here’s the opening: 

The body flew on a different plane, arriving in Detroit two days ago, at 7:37AM.  She tracked its arrival online.  Not a soldier or a famous politician, just her husband, age thirty, suddenly dead.
(Only 560 more words to go! Read on….and leave a comment if you’re so inspired.)

My essay “Joy to the World” appears in the journal P-M-S, PoemMemoirStory.  There’s no online link, but here’s where you can find out more about the journal, which is available at many Barnes & Noble branches.  Here’s ordering information.

The piece was inspired by a memorable interlude at—of all places—my regular grocery store.  Here’s the opening:

It’s mid-December, a morning of doing errands, a day like any other day, except that everything is going remarkably well:  I find a great parking spot.  The post office isn’t crowded when I arrive to mail my packages, though the man behind the counter tells me there’s been a line all morning, “until right about now.”  Find another great parking spot.  Stumble across the perfect Christmas gift for my hard-to-buy-for friend at a locally-owned boutique.  And so on.

Last stop, the grocery store, where my luck continues, and the guy working produce locates in the back the last bag of parsnips in the building.  Parsnips are a key ingredient in the velvety-lush root vegetable soup I want to make for dinner tonight.  “Bet you’ve never seen anyone get so excited about parsnips,” I joke to him, and he laughs pleasantly.
So things are moving along, and I’ve committed to a check-out aisle, unloading my cart onto the conveyer belt, doing my usual tidy job of it:  heavy stuff up front; frozen foods, meat, and milk grouped together; produce in one section, poisonous cleaners in another; fragile things at the end.  I’m daydreaming about the array of Christmas cookies on the covers of the food magazines, so I don’t notice the person in line ahead of me until she snaps, “I told you I can’t lift more than five pounds!  Those bags are too heavy!”

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AWP: Tips on Surviving the Annual Migration

Like the annual migration of the wildebeest, so writers will be stampeding to Boston next week for the AWP conference…10,000 bleary-eyed, name-dropping, crowd-scanning, black-clad, totebag-toting writers in desperate need of a drink and a blurb from Famous Writer.

How can you survive the experience and live to tell the tale?  Read on for my own conference survival tips, based on my past AWP experiences:

Wear comfortable shoes, at least most of the day. There’s lots of traipsing around long hallways and the long (sometimes uncarpeted) aisles of the book fair. It’s also inevitable that the one panel you really, really, really want to see will be in a teeny-tiny room and you’ll have to stand in the back…or sit on the floor; see the following tip:

Wear comfortable clothes, preferably taking a layer approach. Wherever you go, you will end up either in A) an incredibly stuffy room that will make you melt, or B) a room with an arctic blast directed at you. Bulk up and strip down as needed. Also, as noted above, the AWP conference staff has a knack for consistently misjudging the size of room required for a subject matter/speakers (i.e. Famous Writer in room with 30 chairs; grad student panel on Use of Dashes in Obscure Ancient Greek Poet in room with 300 chairs), so you may find yourself scrunched into a 2’x2’ square on the carpet; see the following tip:

To avoid being stuck sitting on the floor, arrive early to panels you really, really want to attend. If you are stuck on the floor, hold your ground with a big bag and/or coat to get yourself some extra space. Whatever you do, do not be nice and squeeze over…those panels can seem VERY LONG when someone’s knee is wedged in your ribs. (Any resulting bad karma will be worth it.)

If a panel is bad, ditch it. Yes, it’s rude. Yes, everyone does it. (Be better than the rest by at least waiting for an appropriate break, but if you must go mid-word, GO.) I can’t tell you the high caliber of presenters that I have walked out on, but think Very High. Remember that there are a thousand other options, and you have choices. The only time you have to stick it out is if A) the dull panel participant is your personal friend or B) the dull panel participant is/was your teacher or C) the dull panel participant is your editor/publisher. Those people will notice (and remember) that you abandoned them mid-drone and punish you accordingly (i.e. your glowing letters of rec will instead incinerate). Undoubtedly this is why I have never been published in Unnamed Very High Caliber Magazine, having walked out on the editor’s panel.

There are zillions of panels: When you pick up your registration badge, you’ll get a massive tome with information about all of them, and—if last year is an indication—also a shorter schedule that’s easy to carry around. Take some time right away to read through the tome and circle the panels you want to attend on your master schedule. Then ditch the tome. Better yet, go to the AWP website now and read through the 328 pages of the tome and decide now where you want to be when. (Use the planner to print off pages with your preferred panels marked.)  No point waking up early on Friday if there’s nothing you want to attend. I checkmark panels I might go to if nothing better is going on and star those that I will make a supreme effort to attend.

Someone will always ask a 20-minute question that is not so much a question but a way of showing off their own (imagined) immense knowledge of the subject and an attempt to erase the (endlessly lingering) sting of bitterness about having their panel on the same topic rejected. Don’t be that person. Keep your question succinct and relevant. Maybe even write it down first, before you start to endlessly ramble. And yes, if you are “that person,” everyone will mimic your annoying question to their friends in the bookfair aisle, and your career is over.

Don’t ever say anything gossipy on the elevator, unless you want the whole (literary) world to know it. Do listen up to the conversations of others on the elevator, and tell your friends what you’ve overheard over your offsite dinner, embellishing as necessary.

Same advice above exactly applies to the overpriced hotel bar.

Support the publications at the bookfair. Set a budget for yourself in advance, and spend some money on literary journals and books and subscriptions, being sure to break your budget. Do this, and then you won’t feel bad picking up the stuff that’s been heavily discounted or being given away free on the last day of the conference. But, please, do spend some money!

Just because something is free, you don’t have to take it. Unless you drove, you’ll have to find a way to bring home all those heavy books/journals on an airplane. Or you’ll have to wait in line at the hotel’s business center to ship them home. So, be as discerning as you can when you see that magic markered “free” sign on top of a pile of sad-looking journals, abandoned by the grad students with hangovers who didn’t feel like dealing with their university's bookfair table.

It may be too late for some of you, but it’s inevitable that you will see every writer you’ve ever met in the aisle of the bookfair at one AWP or another…so I hope you were nice to all of them and never screwed anyone over. Because, yes, they will remember, and it’s not fun reliving all that drama as the editors of The Georgia Review gaze on.

Pre-arrange some get-togethers with friends/teachers/grad student buddies, but don’t over-schedule. You’ll run into people, or meet people, or be invited to a party, or find an amazing off-the-beaten-track bar.  Save some time for spontaneity! (Yes, I realize that I’m saying “plan” for spontaneity.)

Don’t laugh at this, but bring along Purell and USE IT often.  For weeks after, post-AWP Facebook status updates are filled with writers bemoaning the deathly cold/sore throat/lingering and mysterious illness they picked up at AWP.  We’re a sniffly, sneezy, wheezy, germy bunch, and the thought of 10,000 of us packed together breathing on each other, shaking hands, and giving fake hugs of glee gives the CDC nightmares.

Escape! Whether it’s offsite dinners/drinks/museums/walks through park/mindless shopping or whatever, do leave at some point. You will implode if you don’t.  

Finally, take a deep breath.  You’re just as much of a writer as the other 9,999 people around you.  Don’t let them get to you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

April Writing Retreat in Maryland

My friend Lisa Couturier will be part of this great-sounding writing retreat in Maryland, not too far from DC. She’s super-smart and super-generous…a wonderful teacher!  And, yes, a writer to be reckoned with, since her workshop is titled “Writing as Predator”!  This event is open to writers at all levels.

Fox Haven Writers Retreat  
April 19-21, 2013

Escape for a weekend writing retreat in the Maryland foothills that cradle the serene and beautiful Fox Haven Farm in Jefferson. Join faculty Susan Cohen and Lisa Couturier, professional writers and editors distinguished in their fields, noted for their teaching abilities, and dedicated to helping participants improve their skills.

Fox Haven Faculty

-----Lisa Couturier is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize for “Dark Horse,” an essay of immersion-journalism about the treatment of horses in America. Couturier’s collection of literary essays, The Hopes of Snakes & Other Tales from the Urban Landscape (Beacon Press, 2006) was described by USA Today as a “lyrical” weaving of “nature writing, philosophy, theology and feminism,” while Publisher’s Weekly noted: “these moving essays [do] not so much domesticate the wilderness as reveal the wildness within the domestic.” Widely published, Couturier is listed as a notable essayist in Best American Essays, 2006 and 2011. Featured in The Washington PostUSA Today, and People, she lives with her family and six horses on an agricultural reserve in Maryland.

-----Susan Cohen is a Professor of English and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. She is the editor ofShorewords: A Collection of Women’s Coastal Writings, co-editor of Wildbranch: An Anthology of Nature, Environmental and Place-based Writing and author of numerous essays and poems about place, environment and American literature.  Her most recent essay is included in Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together ed. Julie Dunlap and Steve Kellert, for which she is the recipient of a 2012 Dan’s Papers Literary Nonfiction Award for her essay “Littoral Drifter” about her experiences living on the beach as a runaway teenager.   Susan is migratory, spending her school year living in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and her summers in Montauk Point, New York.


Friday, April 19, 7:00-9:00 p.m.:
Authors Reading, Interactive writing activity, Q & A with authors

Workshops:  Saturday, April 20, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
                        Saturday, April 20, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Dinner with Authors
                        Sunday, April 21, 10:00-2:00 p.m.
                        *Final hour is dedicated to student readings in combined group

Lisa Couturier’s Saturday writing workshop“Writing as Predator,” asks participants to “hunt” in the wilderness of their souls, since it is there that our most hopeful and fulfilling writing is born and thrives. Personal essays and immersion-journalism arise out of deeply held perspectives and experiences; and we will discuss how these genres’ elements (storytelling, question/conflict, figurative language, etc.) help us track our narratives. We will use writing prompts, reflection, and time spent outdoors at Fox Haven to create vignettes that later could turn into essays. Most of all, we will stalk honesty and the things that have meaning in our lives.  All levels welcome.  Limit 20 participants.  No experience necessary!

Couturier’s Sunday workshop, “Writing as Predator, II,” is a manuscript review for those who have a personal essay / nature essay / or journalistic narrative underway.  Manuscripts must be typed and double-spaced. Please submit no more than the first ten pages (or fewer) via email by March 29th to the instructor. Manuscripts will be shared via email with other participants prior to the class. Workshop guidelines to help students provide feedback to each other will also be sent to all participants.  To maximize the benefit of a group workshop, all members will need to have read all manuscripts before April 21st.   Limit 8 -10 participants. 

Susan Cohen’s Saturday memoir writing workshop“The Geography of Childhood,”asks participants to explore their connections to places from their childhood that impacted their lives.  Essays of place incorporate strong sensory detail, a storyline, factual information and the writer’s point of view to ultimately make readers feel the writer’s experience.  We will use writing prompts, reflection, and time spent outdoors at Fox Haven Farm to create vignettes that later could turn into essays or short stories.  All levels welcome. Limit 20 participants.  No experience necessary!

Cohen’s Sunday workshop, “Writing about Place,” is a group workshop manuscript review for those who have a personal essay / a nature essay / or place-based fiction underway.  Manuscripts must be typed and double-spaced. Please submit no more than the first ten pages (or fewer) by March 29th to the instructor. Manuscripts will be shared via email with other participants prior to the class.  Workshop guidelines to help students provide feedback to each other will also be sent to all participants. To maximize the benefit of a group workshop, all members will need to have read all manuscripts before April 21st.   Limit 8 – 10 participants.

Portion of Proceeds go to:  Second Chance for Wildlife, in Gaithersburg, MD; Watershed Stewards Academy

For more information about the retreat and to register, go here.
For more information about Fox Haven Farms, go here.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Link Corral: Truman Capote, Cover Letters, How to Schmooze

I’ve long been fascinated by Truman Capote; Breakfast at Tiffany's has a solid spot on my "favorite books" bookshelf.  This exploration on The Millions of Capote's life and career is very thoughtful:

…If Capote the writer has been eclipsed in the public mind by Capote the Hollywood movie character, no one is more to blame than Capote himself. An incurable glory hog, Capote lived as much of his life as he could in the limelight, hopping onto the sofa of any TV talk show host who would have him and jetting around the world in the company of glamorous women from Babe Paley, wife of CBS President Bill Paley, to Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy. Capote, in his way, was a reality TV star before there was reality TV, always on stage, gossiping and backstabbing, forever plotting to push other people off the island.

Behind all that needy self-display, though, there was a serious, preternaturally confident author, one of the most naturally gifted America has ever produced….

Read on:


Do you need a cover letter when you submit?  Natural Bridge literary journal offers some advice and tips:

Basically, a polished, brief, relevant, and polite cover letter can buy you a lot of attention. Why should we slow down before tossing this submission in the slush pile? Why should we give you that second date, or rather, a second read?


Great advice on how to schmooze at a conference, even if you’re shy, courtesy of journalist  Linda K. Wertheimer:

I have met authors and agents in similar ways over the years. My method is simple: If I approach someone, I make sure I’ve done research beforehand. That includes reading the books of authors and knowing the client list of agents. At huge conferences, it’s impossible to memorize the speaker list and the bios, but I scan them and focus my attention on those who write in the genres I do or represent someone who does. If I don’t know anything about an author or agent who I happen to bump into, I don’t pretend to, either.

I do not stalk, and I read body signals. Someone poring through a manuscript over coffee likely does not want to be disturbed. And yeesh, if they’re snorkeling while on break during the Maui writers’ conference, leave them alone. Renee Zuckerbrot, a literary agent, told me about a writer who swam into the ocean to hunt down Renee’s friend, an agent who was snorkeling. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pepper Chicken with Hummus: Best Quick Dinner Ever!

It’s been a while since I’ve run a recipe, and this is one of my favorites, especially for a quick, easy dinner…perhaps if you’d like to spend more time writing than cooking, but still absolutely must have something delicious for dinner.  This recipe is from Gourmet magazine, a publication still beloved to me and still SORELY missed; in fact, I will never forgive the world for shutting it down. 

I’ve added some of my notes in an effort to be “helpful”; in general, it’s a very forgiving recipe:  I never really measure the spices, I use as much chicken as there is in the package I’ve bought; I often throw in an extra cubanelle pepper or two; I’ve used Anaheim chiles and/or jalapenos when I couldn’t find cubanelles (which are also called “Hungarian wax peppers” at my grocery store...or maybe they really are different peppers?).  And I bet vegetarians could make this without the chicken and be perfectly happy...the peppers are great.

Pepper Chicken with Hummus
Serves 4 (and leftovers keep well)


1/3 cup olive oil (I actually use only about ¼ cup)

¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 ½ lb skinless boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into 2 ½ inch pieces (I’ve never tried thighs)

1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into ½ inch-wide strips
1 Italian frying or Cubanelle pepper, cut lengthwise into ½ inch-wide strips (these are light green, longish, and thinnish; see note above)
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into ½ inch-wide strips

1 8-10 oz container prepared hummus (preferably Sabra spicy)

Toasted pita bread (I use wheat; a good brand makes a difference)


Preheat broiler.  Line a large, shallow baking pan with foil. (I use a very large, rimmed cookie sheet, and I spray the foil with Pam.)

Stir together oil, salt, cumin, pepper, and oregano in a large bowl, then toss with chicken and vegetables.  Arrange in baking pan without crowding and broil 4-6 inches from heat, stirring once, until chicken is just cooked through and vegetables are lightly charred, about 8 minutes.

Divide hummus among plates and top with chicken and vegetables.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Celebrating "Work-in-Progress" Week!

It’s Work-in-Progress Week!  Thanks to the fabulous Beth Kephart, writers are posting a little something from their current works-in-progress…on blogs, Facebook, tumblr, twitter, wherever.  (The best thing about starting something new is no hard and fast rules...this started as a day and has become a week!)  While I’m not talking much at the moment about what I’ve been working on, I would like to offer this tiny taste, the opening to a short story.

Thank you, Beth, for rallying us and for being, always, the very definition of a generous, supportive, nurturing writer.  Here’s what she wrote on her blog today:

Yesterday, in response to a query from Ilie Ruby, I posted a few lines from a novel in progress and then invited all my Facebook writer friends to do the same. I wanted to shatter, for that one day at least, the loneliness that can stem from writing. I wanted to celebrate those who had published and those who will soon publish—to make it clear that we are all of the same yearning community, no barriers between us.

Oh, there is one real rule for Work-in-Progress Week, and that is to encourage others to post something.  So please do! Sound your barbaric yawp and let the world see what you're up to!


By Leslie Pietrzyk                                              

            Kate would not remind the Bakers that the day of her visit was also her birthday.  It was probably bad enough that she was visiting, their dead son’s wife, showing up to—what?  Remind them that David was still dead?
            He had died in a boating accident in June, four months ago, and this visit to the Bakers—planned in conjunction with her conference in DC—had been in the works before that, since May.  The plan was that David would join her.  Now it was October.  Now David was dead.  Since the Bakers knew about the trip, she felt trapped into seeing them.  One night, Kate told herself, a few drinks, dinner, coffee.   Nothing more.
            The Bakers lived in Alexandria, Virginia, an historic town about seven miles from Washington.  Grady, the father, owned a heating and oil company and had served two terms on the city council.  Josie, the mother, ran things:  Garden Week, the Junior League, a Siamese cat rescue group.  Several years ago she had taken up cooking in a fierce way and now talked about opening a specialty cookie bakery.  There were four sisters, all of whom lived in nearby suburbs, all orbited by an assortment of husbands, ex-husbands, partners, and children. David, Kate’s husband, was the baby of the family, with thirteen years between himself and his oldest sister. 
            The funeral service was the last time Kate had seen the Bakers, when they had descended upon Grinnell, the small college town in Iowa where Kate taught economics.  The family trooped through en masse, as if a tour group with an itinerary, eager to see the sites of David’s life:  house, car, cat, grocery store, where he planted tomatoes, the Wednesday night poker friends, the coffee house where he hosted monthly poetry readings.  She didn’t want to think unkind things—after all, they had lost their son and brother and uncle—but there was something so noisy about the Bakers and the way they encompassed space, as if they felt entitled to much more of it than anyone else.  Kate’s own family was small and quiet, people who proudly stayed in the background, preferring the margins. ...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to Write Book Reviews

Ever think about writing book reviews?  Cathy Day offers this excellent interview with author/reviewer David Walton that gives an overview of the basics, including what percentage of a book review can be spent on “showing off.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Writing a polished review is a demanding writing exercise. It takes me two days to get those 450 words. Sometimes I labor over an opening paragraph or two for a couple of hours, then pitch it out. And believe me, there’s a lot to check in 450 words–use the word excellent twice, or any word, and it stands out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Writing Retreats: The Sun Magazine (scholarships available!) and Rehoboth Beach

Two upcoming writing retreats of note:

The Sun in North Carolina
Into the Fire: The Sun Celebrates Personal Writing
Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, North Carolina
April 26 – April 28, 2013

Into the Fire
The Sun Celebrates Personal Writing
To write about ourselves in a way that touches others and reminds them of our fundamental connectedness we must be willing to take a leap — with all our passion, fear, and longing — into the fire.

Since 1974, The Sun has published the kind of brave, revealing writing that lives up to the magazine’s motto, a line from concentration-camp survivor Viktor Frankl: “What is to give light must endure burning.” We invite you to join Sun readers, authors, and staff for a weekend of investigating our lives through the written word. We’ll discuss essays, fiction, and poems with their authors, who will lead exercises geared to bring forth similar elements in your own writing. Readers Write–style writing sessions will help get your pen moving. (You don’t have to be a writer to attend. We create a space in which people can tell their stories from the heart.) The weekend will conclude with editor and publisher Sy Safransky reading from his Notebook.

Of course, the best part of a Sun gathering is getting to meet everyone: writers, staff, and other people who love the magazine and share its compassionate, unflinching view of the world. We hope you’ll join us.


Thanks to Rebecca for sending along information about this writing retreat in lovely Rehoboth Beach, where I recently spent 10 days:

Registration: Write Time, Write Place, Write Now (WTWPWN)
Friday – Sunday • March 15 – 17, 2013 • Royal Rose Inn, Rehoboth, Delaware

For more information, go here.  

(Please note that I have never attended this conference and do not know the organizer, so I’m merely passing along this very intriguing info…though I will definitely vouch for the general fabulousness of Rehoboth Beach!)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Catching Up...

…on Redux:

A great story by Kim Church about love and the TV show Columbo…yes, really!

“After the hurricane, when our cable service was finally restored, we began picking up channels we hadn’t paid for.  It’s been months now and the company still hasn’t caught on.  My husband feels guilty, but I tell him to look at it this way: we’ve been given a gift, the best kind, one we didn’t expect or deserve, and we should make the most of it, especially since we know it can’t last forever.  The truth is, I don’t want to lose my Columbo reruns.  One of our new stations plays two Columbos every Monday morning and one on Thursdays, and I’ve been taping them all….”

And a new poem today about silent movies by Adam Vines:

…The yellowing Friday Photoplays burn,
the women’s I dos and I can’ts engraved
in their expressions on the covers--words
their lost, soft tongues never had to crave. …

Read more.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Back at the Beach

I snuck home for one night to watch the Super Bowl—yay, Ravens!—but here I am again, for several more days.  I’m not tired of looking at the ocean every day.  I’m also not tired of oysters, having had some excellent Golden Sweets at Henlopen Oyster House.  While I could have easily eaten another half dozen, there is something so decadent—even by my standards—about eating more than six, so I had steamed shrimp instead, which were the best steamed shrimp I’ve ever had!  Perfectly cooked, plump, spiced with gobs of whole spices and onions…it’s also decadent to have a second bowl of steamed shrimp, so I headed home afterwards.  But I’m sure I’ll be back!

On Sunday, I watched the Polar Bear Plunge—several thousand people running into the ocean in bathing suits, followed quickly by several thousand people running out of the ocean, many of them screaming. 

I also had some wonderful craft cocktails with house-infused bourbon at East of Eden and delicious fried calamari.  On the other end of the spectrum, I went to the fabulous, definitely unfancy Arena’s and had “Delaware’s Best Nachos.”  I got the small order, which was about six inches tall, eight inches wide, with at least a cup of sour cream on top.

Reading, writing, thinking…the days here pass with a quiet intensity.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Winter Beach

I’ve been staying at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware for the past few days, focusing on my writing in quiet solitude (literally—no TV!). The ocean is a two minute walk away, and now I know what would motivate me to exercise happily every single day…an ocean two minutes away!  I can imagine nothing more pleasant than to take a walk along the shore every single day. Since that’s not something that will be happening in the near future, I’ll just enjoy what I have for the next week.

Also two minutes away is downtown Rehoboth, which in the summer is packed with people and the fried-sweet-sugary-coconuty scent of sun-screened families wolfing down French fries and taffy, but which now feels almost post-apocalyptic, with boarded storefronts and stray wanderers on empty, wide sidewalks and street parking galore.  (Okay, if the post-apocalypse includes a lot of people walking dogs.)

I love it!  There was even snow this morning, about an inch, that was absolutely lovely!

Have no fear, there are restaurants open, even enough so that it’s stressful to make hard decisions, if one is trying not to eat like a P-I-G.  So far I’ve had steak tacos at happy hour at Dos Locs Stone Grill, happy hour tapas at CafĂ© Azafran (who knew green beans could be so delicious?!), oysters on the half shell at Fins, and a great Italian sub at Touch of Italy.

Big night tonight as Grotto Pizza will finally be open; I’ve been desperate for Grotto Pizza!!!!  It doesn’t help that there are branches everywhere I walk…all shuttered, all mocking me.

On Saturday, Fisher’s will be open, so there are plans for caramel corn in my future.

Oh, yes, the work…that, too, is going well.  I sorted 10,000 scraps of paper.  I read all the pages I have written over the past eighteen months.  I have a new title that—fingers crossed—is perfect.  And I have a glimmer of the path ahead with this manuscript.  Just a glimmer, yes, but I’m trying to be patient and assume that the path will open to me soon.  All things cannot be perfect, even here at the beach.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.