Friday, September 18, 2015

Link Corral...NOT About Me!

Feeling discouraged about your writing and the marketplace at the moment? Then read this, immediately; the title is “Should I Just Give Up on My Writing?”:

…It's not good to pretend that you DESERVE rare success, and it's also not good to tell yourself that you're just another faceless member of the crowd. You can empathize and connect with other writers and still believe in some ineffable magic that wells up from deep inside of you. I sure as hell do. Sometimes! But that still doesn't mean that you or I DESERVE SUCCESS. We don't deserve MORE, you and me. We're lucky to be writing for a living. Hell, we're lucky just to be here…. So what do we deserve? We deserve to work really hard at what we love. That's a privilege. We deserve that....


I’m distraught that I won’t be able to attend this reading on October 4 at the Writer’s Center: poet Tanya Olson.  Her book Boyishly is wonderful, and the title poem is one of my all-time faves. You should get yourself to this reading in my place—and thank me later. (Read one of her poems here and learn more about the book.)

Sun, 4 Oct, 2015
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

 Emerging Writer Fellowship recipient Tanya Olson reads from Boyishly, her collection of poems. She is joined by Nancy Carlson, who reads from recently published translations, Abdourahman Waberi’s The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper, and Calazaza's Delicious Dereliction by Suzanne Dracius.

The reading will be followed by a reception and book signing. Tanya Olson lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a Lecturer in English at UMBC. Her first book, Boyishly, was published by YesYes Books in 2013 and received a 2014 American Book Award. In 2010, she won a Discovery/Boston Review prize and was named a 2011 Lambda Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation. 

The Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20815Free admissionDetails:


Finally, no link, but I loved this description of the writing process in Ann Patchett’s collection of essays, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. This is from “The Getaway Car,” which was also released as a Kindle single, but apparently it’s no longer available. Anyway:

…For me it’s like this: I make up a novel in my head (there will be more about this later). This is the happiest time in the arc of my writing process. The book is my invisible friend, omnipresent, evolving, thrilling. During the months (or years) it takes me to put my ideas together, I don’t take notes or make outlines; I’m figuring things out, and all the while the book makes a breeze around my head like an oversized butterfly whose wings were cut from the rose window in Notre Dame. This book I have not yet written one word of is a thing of indescribable beauty, unpredictable in its patterns, piercing in its color, so wild and loyal in its nature that  my love for this book, and my faith in it as I track its lazy flight, is the single perfect joy in my life. It is the greatest novel in the history of literature, and I have thought it up, and all I have to do is put it down on paper and then everyone can see this beauty that I see. 

And so I do. When I can’t think of another stall, when putting it off has actually become more painful than doing it, I reach up and pluck the butterfly from the air. I take it from the region of my head and I press it down against my desk, and there, with my own hand, I kill it. It’s not that I want to kill it, but it’s the only way I can get something that is so three-dimensional onto the flat page. Just to make sure the job is done I stick it into place with a pin. Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV. Everything that was beautiful about this living thing—all the color, the light and movement—is gone. What I’m left with is the dry husk of my friend, the broken body chipped, dismantled, and poorly reassembled. Dead. That’s my book….

More about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage:


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