Month: April 2017

  • Writing the motherland

    “How many of you,” Betsy asked the audience, “think you know your mother’s mind, maybe better than she knows herself?” Whoops, I thought, raising my hand. That’s arrogant of me. But trying to read my mother’s mind was one of the most urgent and constant occupations of my childhood and teenage years, and I’ve kept […]

  • Killing your 18th c specialist darlings

    My imaginary English Department was overstaffed, according to fictional administrators. Unfortunately, the first readers of my novel ms said the same thing. One of those professors, everyone said, has got to go. And it was pretty clear who had the least seniority. I hated firing the poor guy. Jay’s specialty is not, in real life, […]

  • The thing about April

    My writing ambitions for National Poetry Month were NOT going well. The end of Winter Term–final classes, visiting writers, grading–doesn’t sound like a good time to reestablish a daily practice, but it has worked for me before. I love spring, when the natural world changes so rapidly from week to week, so when, like this […]

  • Oceanicartography

    No, that’s not a real word. But last week, certain currents in my thinking converged, all having to do with maps and oceans. On Saturday, we dropped our daughter off at the Charlottesville train station then headed over to Chroma Projects to see a show by an old friend and collaborator, Carolyn Capps, called “Deep […]