Writing Code: An Interview With Poet, Web Developer and Editor Lauren Haldeman

Web development is so interesting to me and also so frustrating. I think of it as a “living” object, meaning that it responds to human interaction. Web design is this really malleable, fun, “living” form of art. There are limitations of course, because it exists in a non-material realm (on the screen) so, you know, unlike a painting or a print, there is no real texture or dimension. That being said, there are so many things that you can do with it. This is great, but it also actually adds to the frustration. I see new sites every day that make me feel totally inadequate as a designer, basically thinking “HOW did they do that?” It is constantly evolving and sometimes I feel exhausted just keeping up. Yet at the base of it there is such richness and opportunity. What I enjoy especially is that it is inherently interdisciplinary in its nature. It can be visual art, it can be written word, it can be audio and video. It can be all these things. It can facilitate communication, too, in a different way than a book or a painting. I mean, don't get me wrong – books and art and three-dimensional objects actually exist as matter in the real world and are often the fundamental means of expression, in and of themselves. But I love exploring web design’s function too.    More here.....

Writing Community Spotlight: Grub Street of Boston

You’d be hard-pressed to find literary people in the Boston area who aren’t familiar with GrubStreet, and for good reason: for the cost of a small, yearly membership fee, writers of all levels are welcome into Grub’s glorious reading and writing space at 162 Boylston, overlooking the beautiful Boston Commons. But Grub offers more than just tables and WiFi (though, as a former member in my Boston-living days, I can attest to the strength of both): in addition to for-pay workshops—which are taught by professional writers like Steve Almond and Jenna Blum— the group hosts student readings, parties, and even professional development lectures, such as, in the near future, “Writing for Love (And Money),” part of their Publish It Forward Series.    Read More....

Craft of Fiction: "The Habit of Writing" by Andre Dubus

The line “just follow them home” appears when Dubus is talking about his story, “Anna.” He’d planned the story (or tried to anyway), but realized he couldn’t figure out what Anna wanted. And so, he put Anna in a bar and wrote what he calls vertically—rather than horizontally. The story isn’t moving forward; instead, he is digging down and finding out everything about her. Following her through her day, he notices things about her, about what the story is ultimately about (which was not what he’d planned), and even discovers the ending.    Read More....

A Soldier's Story: An Interview with Combat Veteran, Writer and 2014 Best American Short Stories Honoree O.A. Lindsey

O.A. Lindsey teaches as an adjunct, does some editing, and—to help pay the bills—clears brush from time to time. But any anonymity might not last for long: earlier this year, he got word that Jennifer Egan selected his Iowa Review story “Evie M.” for publication in the 2014 edition of The Best American Short Stories, just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. We spoke about his story, the honor, and how it will and won’t change his writing life and expectations..... More here...

Productive Procrastination II: Link Roundup

If you’re tired of Facebook and Twitter, here are a few writing-related sites for some (relatively) productive procrastination.

http://750words.com/

The goal of this site is for the user to write 750 words, the equivalent of about three pages, daily. The site gives you points for meeting your goal consistently, and it’s a fun way to keep track of your writing schedule.

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

Read More....

A Look at The Atlantic's Feature on TJ Jarrett: Computer Engineering: A Fine Day Job for a Poet

There are lots of poet/teachers and poet/editors. But poet/software developers? That's thinking outside the box (or inside the box, depending on how you look at it.) Either way, it's working well for Nashville-based poet TJ Jarrett, who was recently featured in a helpful, perhaps inspiring piece on her job and art in The Atlantic.

A few highlights....    Read More....

Found in Translation: An Interview with Poet, Nonfiction Writer and International Youth Writing Program Coordinator Kelly Morse

Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching creative writing and would love to have a job where time was set aside for me to write, but I don’t know if I’m ready to scrabble up the academic ladder. Arts administration gives me stability, keeps me in the field, and allows me to engage with publishing at my own pace, in my own way. Come on in, poets, the water’s fine!    Read More....

Starbird Murphy Flies Into the World: An Interview with Poet, YA Novelist, Slam Master and Teacher Karen Finneyfrock

I’m so thrilled to say that my life is brimming with talented, generous writers. I’ve built that network two ways: Poetry Slam and Richard Hugo House. My lasting connections with writers have come from being students together in classes, being teachers together, going on residencies and performing together. I spend a lot of time supporting other writers, often through going to readings and book release parties. I think it’s important to bond with other writers who are at the same point in their careers.    Read More....

If Don Draper Had a Novel in the Drawer: A Look at Debut Novelist Smith Henderson's Writing and Copywriting Career

In a recent feature on Smith Henderson, the Wall Street journal took a look at the debut novelist's background and how some of the jobs he took influenced the novel he would one day write. We also learn about the path he took to becoming an advertising copywriter in Portland, and how his work as a fiction writer has influenced his campaigns.    Read More....

Craft of Fiction: "Place in Fiction" by Eudora Welty

This past semester was my first teaching creative writing at the undergraduate level, and I quickly noticed that many of my students don’t include settings in their stories. Characters float in empty spaces, sometimes speaking to each other, sometimes pondering their existences and griefs, and sometimes moving about—although without any reference points.    Read More....

Happy Birthday, Harlan Ellison

“You want to be smart? Don’t read The Bible, don’t read The One Minute Manager, don’t read How To Influence Friends And Make People Kiss Your Ass. What you read are the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. You read the entire cannon—there’re not that many—and you will be smarter than you ever need to be, because every one of them is based on the idea of deductive logic. Keep your eyes open and be alert! That’s what all good writing says. Wake up and pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention!”    Read More....

Stories Need Engines, Too: An Interview with Fiction Writer and Engineer Nick Arvin

I think of myself as a writer first. I feel like that’s my vocation. But I spend more time on the engineering, and I certainly make more money engineering. I don’t mind being identified as an engineer. I'm pretty good at it, and I enjoy it. But occasionally I find myself in a social situation where one or the other feels somehow embarrassing; it’s nice to be able to duck behind a label.    Read More....

Varieties of Pain and Healing: An Interview with Fiction Writer and Dental Student Christian Piers

Don’t be afraid to put the creative work aside during your training!  I know this sounds blasphemous to daily writers, but if you’re going to dental or medical school, you need to hear it from someone.  The key is to stay healthy and sane.  Just find ways to keep your storytelling sense alive.  You might do this by working through a list of craft books or keeping a sensory journal from your medical training.  Be adaptable.  Four years without writing is going to leave your craft tools a little rusty, but if you’re still healthy at the end of it, I think the sacrifice is more than worth it.    Read More....

Friday Was the Bomb: An Interview with Essayist, Journalist and Debut Nonfiction Writer Nathan Deuel

I saw on some blog somewhere that Coffee House was looking for essay books. Essay books—I love them! And I thought, why the fuck not? I could make an essay book.

So I started copying and pasting and putting all I'd written over five years in the shit into one big-ass document. And you know what? It sort of looked like a book. So I got kind of loaded, got all psyched, then the next morning I sent it to Coffee House, Black Ballooon, and Dzanc, all of whom I knew might be game. All were into it, and I sent each of them a more complete manuscript. It turned out that Dzanc was the one.

There was no agent involved. Most roll their eyes when you talk about a "collection."    Read More....

Link Roundup: Productive Procrastination

These sites are at least related to writing, so maybe you won’t feel quite as guilty the next time you find yourself procrastinating.

http://www.oneword.com/

One Word is a simple solution for writer’s block. The site offers a single word at the top of the screen and gives you 60 seconds to write about it. These one word prompts are surprisingly helpful at generating ideas, and the one-minute deadline increases focus.

http://www.wordle.net/

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Craft of Fiction: Artful by Ali Smith

For writers, reading is often the best form of study—especially when paired with the practice of actual writing. In her latest book, Ali Smith combines a series of four talks, presented at the Weidenfeld lectures on European comparative literature at Oxford, with a fictional story about a woman visited by the ghost of her former lover, a fictional scholar responsible for the four talks. Through this ingenious use of form, Smith combines both intellectual examinations of literature with a story that exemplifies the ideas presented in the lectures.    Read More....

Of Cultural Trusts and Cokehead Sasquatches: An Interview With Novelist and Arts Administrator Jacob Bacharach

I think working a job is great for writing. When I’m off on weekends or on vacation, I never get anything done. I putz around the house and play with the dog and watch Netflix. When I hear some bogus NPR interview with some overpraised author yammering on about a “process” that involves three hours every morning in a sun-drenched study I reach for my Browning, you know? I am a big believer that you work when you work. Constantly interacting with other humans, as you do in a job, in an office, is good for fiction, even if there’s no explicit, topical connection. It makes you remember how people sound, smell, dress, think, and it makes you hear your own affections as a writer all the more clearly.    Read More....