Essays On Writing By Writers

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how Junot Diaz often comments on the fact he’s almost never asked to speak about craft, and instead always is asked to talk about race, identity, and the immigrant experience.

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If your inner critic continues to plague you with invidious comparisons, scream, ' Ancestor worship!

' and leave the building." (March 2001) Mary Gordon"It's a bad business, this writing.

The consistency, the monotony, the certainty, all vagaries and passions are covered by this daily reoccurrence. You don't skip a child's breakfast or forget to wake up in the morning.

Sleep comes to you each day, and so does the muse." (July 2000) William Saroyan "How do you write?

The end of this article features a collection of some of these responses.

At the heart of the MFA vs POC discussion is the contention that any discussion of craft does not take place in a vacuum -- that race is part of one's lived experience and how we see ourselves and are seen impact how and what we write.This following list is an expansion of a post I started on my own blog to catalog what writing resources are out there that have been written, edited, or presented by other writers of color (if you are aware of other texts, essays, and resources that should be listed, please post in the comments and I’ll add them in). A former computer programmer and a Kundiman poetry alumnus, he holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside and a Ph. Cheng.[2017-05-08] - Added links to essays by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. I know the feel of a newborn lamb's damp, tight-curled fleece and the sharp sound a well-bucket chain makes as it scrapes on stone.I use that first draft as a touchstone to make sure everything else in that section has the same sound, the same tone and impression of spontaneity." (November 2000) Alice Hoffman"I wrote to find beauty and purpose, to know that love is possible and lasting and real, to see day lilies and swimming pools, loyalty and devotion, even though my eyes were closed and all that surrounded me was a darkened room.I wrote because that was who I was at the core, and if I was too damaged to walk around the block, I was lucky all the same.We accomplish what we do, creating a series of stratagems to explode the horror. I write by hand." (July 1999) Kent Haruf"After finishing the first draft, I work for as long as it takes (for two or three weeks, most often) to rework that first draft on a computer.Usually that involves expansion: filling in and adding to, but trying not to lose the spontaneous, direct sound.And I know other kinds of emotional truths that I believe apply across the centuries." (July 2001) Richard Ford "Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work.(Beware of anybody who tries to tell you that.) Writing is indeed often dark and lonely, but no one really has to do it.For Diaz, the MFA workshop is too often a space that privileges and celebrates a white and often male perspective, while silencing other voices.In what is often a profoundly white space, the student writer of color is often asked to conform to a standard rooted in white experience, or else asked to perform as a token or a race ambassador, or to write toward expected race narratives for the sake of "believability" as judged by their predominantly white peers.


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