This is my story in a nutshell: I grew up in the Midwest, the older of two children. My mother was emotional; my father was dominant. She stayed home; he worked a lot. I was a strong student. I went to college in New York City, fell in love a couple of years after graduation, [...]
For a long time now, a handful of my close friends have been telling me that I should write a book. “You’re such a good storyteller, Portland,” my friend Molly frequently says. “You’ve got a book in you,” my friend Eden often reminds me. “I wish you’d write your stories down.” But I haven’t. I’ve [...]
by Brian Leaf I am a certified yoga instructor and a licensed massage therapist, I’ve been meditating for 25 years, and I have countless new-agey weekend degrees. Still, somehow, five years ago, I found myself working not in a spa or ashram, not teaching yoga or giving massages, but writing vocabulary workbooks for the SAT [...]
by Dani Shapiro As I write this, I’m somewhere between L.A. and New York, sitting next to my sleeping husband. It’s the first time ever that we’ve taken a flight together, without our son. We’ve each taken countless flights solo, and we’ve flown together as a family (the crazy thinking being that if we go down, [...]
Brian Leaf, guest blogger I hate gardening. Don’t get me wrong; I love the idea of gardening. Truly. And I wish I was a gardener. I know that gardeners are better people than me. So I do try. Sometimes, on a Sunday, I join my wife and our boys in the back yard. I squat [...]
Lara Tupper, guest blogger I used to teach writing full time at a huge state university. A lot of writers teach; a lot of writers, when not teaching, actually write. I was not one of them. I spent my free time either commenting on student work (“Why does this character choose to go to this [...]
Lara Tupper, MFA, is the author of A Thousand and One Nights, a novel about singers at sea. Her work has appeared in Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak, The Believer, fivechapters.com, and other literary magazines. Lara taught writing at Rutgers University for nine years and now lives in the Berkshires, where she regularly presents [...]
Ann Randolph is considered one of the most gifted and innovative writer-performers in the country, and has been hailed by critics as “revolutionary, Whitmanesque, and a tour de force.” Ann’s solo shows have garnered many awards, including the prestigious LA Weekly and Los Angeles Times Ovation for “Best Solo Show.” Excerpts from her shows have [...]
Lisa Pletzer, guest blogger
It was the first day of my junior year of high school, and my English teacher had just handed each of us a blank notebook.
“You’re all going to keep journals this year,” she said. “I’ll periodically collect them to count pages—not to read—so I want you to feel like you can be totally open and honest.” She told us that our final exam would be writing a paper about our observations of how we’d grown through our journal writings from the entire school year.
I’d always loved to write and had kept a diary in the past. But after a bad experience a couple of years before involving my mother reading my diary (“I thought you were writing a book!”) and discovering my growing interest in having sex with my boyfriend, I’d basically sworn off putting anything in writing. But this, I thought, might be different. It was a school notebook, after all. No reason for anyone to go snooping there!