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Friday, December 3, 2021

A Writer's Moment: 'When we write, we are changed'

A Writer's Moment: 'When we write, we are changed':   “Writing is literally transformative. When we read, we are changed. When we write, we are changed. It's neurological. To me, this is a...

'When we write, we are changed'

 “Writing is literally transformative. When we read, we are changed. When we write, we are changed. It's neurological. To me, this is a kind of magic.” – Francesca Lia Block


 Born into a creative family (on this day in 1962 to a poet mother and painter father) she has established herself as a writer of fiction, short stories, screenplays and poetry and also a teacher of those topics.   She wrote her first novel while still a student at UC Berkeley, one of the few times she did any writing or teaching outside of her beloved Los Angeles, the focal point for most of her work.  She has won acclaim for her use of imagery, especially in describing the city of Los Angeles.  One New York Times Book Review critic said, "Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler.” 

She writes for both adults and teens and won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American 
Library Association for her contribution to writing for teens.  While best known for her novels, Block is also a lifelong writer of poetry. Her first two books, Moon Harvest and Season of Green,
were small-press illustrated poetry collections, and since then, she has released several standalone collections of poetry, as well as incorporating poetry and lyrics into many of her novels.
 

“Writing is very cathartic for me. As a teacher, I hear many students say that writing can be painful and exhausting. It can be, but ultimately I believe that if you push through, the process is healing and exhilarating.”

 

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Writer's Moment: ‘Write Because You Love The Art’

A Writer's Moment: ‘Write Because You Love The Art’:   “I think people become consumed with selling a book when they need to be consumed with writing it.     Write because you love the art and...

‘Write Because You Love The Art’

 

“I think people become consumed with selling a book when they need to be consumed with writing it.    Write because you love the art and the discipline, not because you're looking to sell something.” – Ann Patchett

The daughter of novelist Jeanne Ray, Patchett was born on this date in 1963 and was first published 
in the prestigious Paris Review when she was just 20 years 
old.  After working for Seventeen magazine for 9 years, she began her creative writing career with the novel  The Patron Saint of Liars, which had modest sales but hit it big as a movie adaptation.
 
She received the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for her novel Bel Canto.  Her  other novels include the award-winning The Magician's Assistan .

Also the editor of a short story collection (for other aspiring writers), she opened her own bookstore in her hometown of Nashville, Tenn., when other stores were closing down and leaving few outlets for writers’ work.  In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World." 

“I don't write for an audience,” Patchett said when asked that question.  “I don't think whether my book will sell, (and) I definitely don't try selling it before I finish writing it.”

 

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Monday, November 29, 2021

A Writer's Moment: 'Write What Wants to be Written'

A Writer's Moment: 'Write What Wants to be Written': “With each book I write, I become more and more convinced that the books have a life of their own, qui...

'Write What Wants to be Written'

“With each book I write, I become more and more convinced that the books have a life of their own, quite apart from me.  A book comes and says, 'Write me.' My job is to try to serve it to the best of my ability, which is never good enough, but all I can do is listen to it, do what it tells me and collaborate.” – Madeleine L’Engle

 
A native of New York City, L’Engle was born this day in 1918.  Her “collaboration” with her writing muse led to the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, the National Book Award-winning A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. 

Although she wrote her first story at the age of 5, she didn’t write A Wrinkle In Time – her first novel – until age 42.  In 2012 the book was voted by  Library Journal readers as the Number 2 children’s book of all time (behind Charlotte’s Web).
The book was rejected 30 times before acceptance.    
 
Of course, once accepted, it opened the floodgates for her as a writer.  She wrote dozens of books for both children and adults in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.  And, it mattered not to her whether it was for one age group or the other.
  

“You have to write the book that wants to be written,” she said. “And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you simply write it for children."

 

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Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Writer's Moment: Eternally In The Public Eye

A Writer's Moment: Eternally In The Public Eye:   November is the month of the sinking of the great ore ship The Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. While many ships have sunk on that ...