Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Memoir Cover: First Peek (Happy Birthday, Dad)


Today would have been my father’s 91st birthday. What do you give a man who, in life, said he never needed anything? How about his photo on a book cover?

I’m pleased that today of all days, I can show you the cover of Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss.

That’s Dad strolling along the edge, doing something he loved—walking and observing the world around him. He’s on Newport Beach in Southern California, a moment captured during a 1997 trip. Everyone else—my mother, husband, and child—was elsewhere, and he’d offered to stay with me on the beach, the only place I found comfort that summer: I was pregnant and fighting off all-day nausea, vertigo, and an odd aversion to air conditioning.

I was content to sit in the sand, relief washing in on every ocean breeze, and was not in a mood to talk. Dad was typically taciturn and, as usual, only able to sit for a few minutes before he began walking, back and forth along a quarter mile of beach—but always within eyesight. I remember his glancing back every few steps to check on me.

I’m biased of course, but I think the art department at University of Nevada Press did a terrific job. I love the cover for the way it treats light and balance, color and feeling. But I also love it for the way he is halfway-off-the-frame, and in a kind of slow motion; that captures something the story inside tries to tell—about the way he proffered protection, punctuated by our mutual tendency to always be moving near one another, but never fully.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Hope you like the gift.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Fridge Clean-Out: Links for Writers -- October 13, 2017 Edition

> A fan of Ove Knausgaard? Watch his keynote lecture, "Why I Write,"  given last month at the Windham-Campbell Prizes at Yale.

> My former student, current friend and colleague Ryder Ziebarth, with wise words about fewer words, over at Brevity's blog.

> Speaking of eliminating needless words, at Hunger Mountain, Pam Houston talks (quite briefly!) about how weeding out "widows" sharpened prose in her new book (and if you're even a little bit of an old-time-journalism-lover, you get this).

> At a literary journal blog, I like good questions but shortish interviews, like this one at Barnstorm with Devin Murphy on his debut novel, The Boat Runner.

> But on the radio (or podcast), I prefer a longish ramble, like when Leonard Lopate, on WNYC, talked with Jennifer Egan about her new novel Manhattan Beach, (and a little of what she likes and doesn't like about how long it takes to write her books).

> It was fun to be interviewed, along with several other memoirists, in Andrea Jarrell's reported essay, "Shaping a Memoir from Essays" on the Proximity blog.

> I'm beginning my long-range book marketing/PR planning (six months and two weeks till launch day), so I'm bookmarking articles like this one at SheWrites, with 30 tips (mostly for indie authors, but plenty are useful for all authors).

> Finally, all that great advice about how to get the writing done when you have a job, kids, blah blah? One advice-giver admits, it's harder to follow than dole out.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Writer Gatherings: Planning Way Ahead and Afar, and also Right Here in Good Ole New Jersey

This week, I'm spending time wrestling a few proposal/ applications to events I hope to participate in next spring, summer, and fall. Typing "2018" so many times has me thinking about how quickly time moves, and sending these missives off (to conferences, book festivals, and the like) to far-flung locations also reminds me that much sooner, and much closer, I've got a few things percolating right here in my home state.

So, this one's for my New Jersey (and nearby) writing friends, a quick note about two upcoming events that might be of interest: staying still...and getting things in motion.

When it comes to getting things in motion, I'm talking about moving your work out into the world. Summoning up the courage and pressing SEND, to take all that fine writing and yank it out from your computer and on its way. To see what happens when you submit your writing. When you venture closer toward the great big world of getting published, whether for you that means an essay or short story in a journal or on a website you like, an article in the local paper, or your book manuscript on a shelf. Some days, it's all about faking confidence and saying what the hell. But first, you need tools, resources, tips, and tricks.

This weekend, I'll be presenting a two-hour program, "Ready, Set, Submit" with The Writers Circle in their Summit location. It's part lesson, part practice, and all brass tacks. If you're here at the blog often, you already know that I'm a no-B.S. person: I'll give it to you straight--and equip you with what you need to build and maintain a submission strategy.

This one's coming up quickly, but we still have a few slots left. Join me Sunday afternoon, October 8. Get all the details here.

Next up for Jersey writers: staying still on the page...well at least long enough to bring to your creative nonfiction work a strong sense of place, of where your story takes place, of setting and context surrounding where it all happens. 

Along with the new Cedar Ridge Writers Series, I'll be working with about 12 writers at -- where else? -- a stunning location for this event: Cedar Ridge Farms in gorgeous Somerset County. There, our senses will be stimulated as we work inside a spacious renovated farmhouse, outside among glorious fields and gardens, all the while thinking about and writing the physical world into memoir, essay, and other forms of CNF.

It's a full day to explore an aspect of craft and story that goes way beyond description, in the company of a small group of like-minded writers.

The one-day intensive/workshop takes place on November 4. Get all the details here.

Questions? Email me!

Hope to see you at one of these...or something else in the future. I love meeting my blog readers in person!