Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Iowa in October, Writing in the Air

- Top Shelf: Spent three days at the NonFiction Now conference at the University of Iowa last week, which is arguably the epicenter for graduate level literary writing in the U.S. Lots more on the conference in a (near) future post. Lovely weather, a setting beside the Iowa River, hanging out with some of my best writing friends from afar -- and presentations by a few dozen of the country's finest memoirists, essayists, nonfiction teachers/professors, literary journal editors, anthologists, creative writing craft book authors: Well, what's not to like?

- On the Ladder: Had a surprisingly terrific time at a small, local gathering of writers in my suburban backyard a few weeks ago. Women Reading Aloud turns the read-comment segment of the workshop on its head and puts the emphasis on active, thoughtful listening.

- Near the top: The anthology (in which my essay appears as the opening piece), Special Gifts: Women Writers on the Heartache, Happiness, and Hope in Raising a Special Needs Child has been named a finalist in the parenting/family-general category of the National Best Books 2007 Awards, over at USABooknews.

- Over and Done: That thesis I was moaning about a few weeks ago? Been there, aced that. Thanks for all the crossed fingers, well wishes, prayers and even the grumbling friends who wondered when/if I'd ever talk about/work on anything else, ever. I'm sort of sad to see it end. It was such fun (and really, an honor) to interview such an interesting group of writers, including, among others, Anna Quindlen, Peggy Orenstein, Meredith Hall, Mimi Schwartz, and Ayelet Waldman.

- Bottoming Out....and then, after the thesis, after the conference, after an October perhaps too crammed with literary doings....the inevitable crash -- exhaustion, over-stimulation and burn-out (and that was just me). Then there is my ailing computer. Cross fingers again, please.

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