My Body Becomes a Lyric Essay

CEREBRAL ARTERY OCCLUSION, UNSPECIFIED; WITH CEREBRAL INFARCTION The language of stroke. The language of my stroke. The doctors can’t pinpoint the exact cause, but they have a culprit under surveillance: a patent foramen ovale. When all of us are in the womb, there’s a natural opening between the left and right atria of the heart.…

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Mad Libs for Creative Nonfiction Writers: A New Exercise

I designed a new writing exercise for my MFA creative nonfiction workshop last week, and contrary to what a good teacher should have done (stating the objective of the exercise before leading the students through it) I purposely eliminated that step and jumped right in. I didn’t want the students to write toward an objective,…

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The Thinginess of Life: Objects and the Writer

This morning, my Facebook friend, Susan Cushman (check out her blog, “(Not) Writing on Wednesdays” at http://susancushman.com/blog-pen-palette/), made me aware of a story she found on another blog, “HighRoadpost” by Lisa Joiner (http://highroadpost.com/). It’s the story of a book that Lisa found in the women’s room at LAX on a day when she and her…

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Nostalgia and the Memoirist

Last week in my MFA creative nonfiction workshop, the issue of nostalgia in memoir came up, and we explored the question of how a memoirist can deal in nostalgia without becoming nostalgic. Hmm. . . that may at first sound like a goofy question to chase around the workshop table, but please bear with me.…

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