Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
As the field of composition studies became more sophisticated in its understanding of research, the designs and assumptions underlying the early work were called into question. Researchers were challenged to design studies that were sensitive to the varying contexts in which writers write and to the ways their own roles shaped their investigations. The more comprehensive studies called for by these critiques are only now beginning to appear. This volume presents some articles in which writers and what they do are at the center of inquiry. The focus is on what actually occurs as people write and how they make sense of what they are doing. Choosing such a focus grants human action central importance and enacts the belief that looking closely at individuals can be a primary starting point for understanding them and their worlds. Other papers take the researcher's shaping role into account. The integrity of such work rests not so much on a lifeless detachment from the phenomena being studied as on the author's vital engagement, and on a faithful rendering of what has been observed. This includes the author revealing his or her own impact of what has been seen and said. In the broadest sense, composing is something we all do: the students and parents and writers and teachers who serve as subjects of research and those who write the research itself. It is what each of us is engaged in when we shape our understanding of life through the writing we do. And it is what can continue to light the way in composition studies for it illuminates what still makes this inquiry so intriguing and so rich -- that only human beings have this capacity to look and see more, to create new texts and new work, and in the creating compose their way to new understandings and new selves.
A unique, candid and intimate survey of the life and work of 12 of our most acclaimed writers: Patricia Grace, Tessa Duder, Owen Marshall, Philip Temple, David Hill, Joy Cowley, Vincent O'Sullivan, Albert Wendt, Marilyn Duckworth, Chris Else, Fiona Kidman and Witi Ihimaera. Constructed as Q&As with experienced oral historian Deborah Shepard, they offer a marvellous insight into their careers. As a group they are now the 'elders' of New Zealand literature; they forged the path for the current generation. Together the authors trace their publishing and literary history from 1959 to 2018, through what might now be viewed as a golden era of publishing into the more unsettled climate of today. They address universal themes: the death of parents and loved ones, the good things that come with ageing, the components of a satisfying life, and much more. And they give advice on writing. The book has an historical continuity, showing fruitful and fascinating links between individuals who have negotiated the same literary terrain for more than sixty years. To further honour them are magnificent photo portraits by distinguished photographer John McDermott, commissioned by the publisher for this project.
Part memoir, part handbook, part survey of the contemporary literary scene, Joan Frank’s Because You Have To: A Writing Life is a collection of essays that, taken together, provide a walking tour of the writing life. Frank’s aim is to form a coherent vision, one that may provide some communion about realities of the writer's vocation that have struck her as rarely revealed. Frank offers what she has learned as a writer not only to other writers, but to those to whom good writing matters. Her insights about "thinking on paper" are never dogmatic or pontifical; rather, they are cordial and intellectually welcoming. Original, witty, and practical, Frank ably steers us through the journey of her own life as a writer, as well as through the careers and work of other writers. Her subjects range widely, from the “boot camp” conditioning of marketing work to squaring off with rejection and envy; from sustaining belief in art’s necessity to the baffling subjectivity of literary perception and the magical books that nourish writers. Frank’s personal journey is wonderfully told, so that what in these essays is particular becomes useful and universal.
The desire to create, to write, to fulfil our artistic dreams is a powerful human need. Yet the number of people who make a living solely by their pen is actually quite small. What does that mean for the rest of us, the self-described writing geeks, who are passionate about writing and who still want to sustain successful literary lives? What does it really mean to find time to build a rewarding writing life while pursuing a career, being a partner or raising a family, in the distracted, time-deprived, 21st-century? In The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life, based on her Huffington Post blog of the same name, Stephanie Vanderslice shares the secrets and tools to developing a successful, rewarding writing practice in a way that inspires the reader to persevere through the inevitable lows and even the highs of a literary life, so that anyone can pursue the path to realizing their artistic dreams.
Do you want to write but have no idea where to start? Building a Writing Life is the beginner writer’s guide you’ve been looking for! You want to be a writer. You want to start a writing habit, share your story, and make some real progress on your writing dreams. You want to find time to write and make room in your life for everything from daily journaling to writing books and beyond. You want to build a writing life. But how do you start? Building a Writing Life is a straightforward, step-by-step guide to integrating writing into your life so you can make steady progress on your goals. Whether you write for personal reasons or dream of more commercial success, you CAN fit writing into your already busy life. With simple, actionable steps you can start taking today, this easy-to-read guide will take you from an aspiring writer to the real deal. In this book, you’ll… • Make the mental commitment to your writing dreams. • Conquer your fears and doubts to start the story of your heart. • Discover and nurture ideas. • Build a regular writing habit. • Motivate yourself to write on days when you don’t feel like it. • Find and make room in your schedule, even if there’s no time to write. • Battle distractions and productively use your writing time. • Discover your ideal writing circumstances and how to think outside the textbox when they aren’t available. • Fine-tuning your writing process by setting better goals and embracing what works for you. … and, most important of all… • Become a real writer at last!
A Likely Story recounts the writing life of Robert Kroetsch, one of Canada's foremost writers and literary theorists. With incisive wit, humor and penetrating insight, Robert Kroetsch follows the events of his life, both real and literary, that have moved him from the bareness of desk and computer into the secret places at the heart of the writing experience. Throughout this chronicle, he toys ironically with the notion that he ceases to be himself when he writes, that writing allows him to escape from the confines of self into exciting varieties of the essay, story and poem. A Likely Story records in loving detail that escape. It is a remarkable assemblage of confessional personal essays, one of the principal elegiac poems of out time, a cowboy poem and speculative pieces that defy literary classification. Through them all Robert Kroetsch enters the landscape of recollection, discovery, delight, self-deception, play, grief and revelation, and through them all he insists with customary boldness: "I am attempting to write an autobiography in which I do not appear."
A prolific author's candid and insightful look at leading figures in Canada's cultural landscape.
Contemporary writers address questions of craft, art, audience, and culture
Celebrated author Ellen Gilchrist has played many roles-writer and speaker, wife and lover, mother and grandmother. But she never tackled the role of teacher. Offered the opportunity to teach creative writing at the University of Arkansas, she took up the challenge and ventured into unknown territory. In the process of teaching more than two hundred students since her first class in 2000, she has found inspiration in their lives and ambitions and in the challenge of conveying to them the lessons she has learned from living and writing. The Writing Life brings together fifty essays and vignettes centered on the transforming magic of literature and the teaching and writing of it. A portion of the collection discusses the delicate balance between an artistic life and family commitments, especially the daily pressures and frequent compromises faced by a young mother. Gilchrist next focuses on the process of writing itself with essays ranging from "How I Wrote a Book of Short Stories in Three Months" to "Why Is Rewriting so Hard?" Several essays discuss her appreciation of other writers, from Shakespeare to Larry McMurtry, and the lessons she learned from them. Eudora Welty made an indelible impact on Gilchrist's work. When Gilchrist takes on the task of teaching, her essays reveal an enriched understanding of the role writing plays in any life devoted to the craft. Humorous and insightful, she assesses her own abilities as an instructor and confronts the challenge of inspiring students to attain the discipline and courage to pursue the sullen art. Some of these pieces have been previously published in magazines, but most are unpublished and all appear here in book form for the first time.