Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gold in Them Notebooks, Part 11. Meredith Hall on What's Missing

Not counting my own writing, I filled eight notebooks over two years while completing an MFA program. They are crammed with great writing tips and insights gleaned from faculty seminars, workshops, graduating student presentations, and visiting writer talks. Feeling nostalgic, I've been wandering through them at random, and posting parts here.

What is not on the page weighs as much, counts as much, matters as, as what is on the page. What you don't include is so important. You can see this very clearly in a segmented (also called a montage or collage) essay, where white space divides and acts as a buffer, and allows you to move between narrative, reflection, and scenes, in the same way as looking through a photo album. There is time to pause and consider before moving on. It seems to me a very organic form for the writer and a very intuitive form for the reader. The key is: no transitions. You can move between times and places, from memory to present, from image to introspection to metaphor. -- Meredith Hall, author of Without A Map, and Memoirist-in-Residence at University of New Hampshire

The first ten posts in the MFA Notebooks series are here.

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