Writing Wednesday

I’ve been thinking about how to share all the great posts about writing I read, which is a lot, and this seems like the best way, so welcome to Writing Wednesday (until I think of a better title)! Since I am, you know, a writer now, it’s part of my job to be a involved in the larger writing community. So I read a lot of author blogs and articles about the industry and the writing process and the ones I find particularly interesting/helpful/funny/inspiring/just generally good I’ll share with you. Enjoy!

  • Improv performing tips that relate to writing in How to Write Like a Funny Woman from The Rumpus. “If you can’t kill your darlings, anesthetize/copy & paste them in a separate Word document.” I do this. It is easier than killing them outright.
  • The Port Townsend Writer’s Conference this year has Pam Houston, Cheryl Strayed, and Dorothy Allison on staff this year. What an amazing group of women! I wish I could go.
  • Sarah Pinneo, whose book Julia’s Child was just released, talks about her first book not working out and how that led to something better here.
  • Two gems from Pam Houston: an interview at Fictionaut Five and an essay called Corn Maze, in which she discusses the blurry lines between fiction and non-fiction, and what language and truth can really mean, and why her narrator in her new book Contents May Have Shifted is named Pam. Did you know she taught James Frey?
  • As an introvert, I found this post, The Perks of Being an Introverted Writer, really interesting.
  • And finally, a quiz from Book Riot to see which author you are. I got Flannery O’Connor.

Event with Pam Houston Booked!

I’m so excited to share this most recently confirmed event with you: a reading with Pam Houston! As I mentioned before, Pam is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I am honestly so thrilled for her new book, Contents May have Shifted, which comes out  in early February.

In addition to being an amazing writer, Pam is also a kind and generous person and one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. I was lucky enough to work with her at UC Davis for several years and she was the chair of my graduate thesis committee, which advised me on the very first draft of Hand Me Down, though it was originally titled something less interesting that no one liked.

Anyway, a dream event has been scheduled with Pam at the Booksmith in San Francisco for April 18th, and I hope you can make it! Maybe I’ll tell the story of how I met Pam as an undergrad before I’d read any of her books and said something stupid and naive that she was gracious enough not to laugh at. Then I read Waltzing the Cat and was tongue-tied around her for years like she was a rock star, and in my world, she totally is.

Check out Pam’s site for more of her events, and look for an events tab on my site coming soon!

A New Type of Picture Book

Contents May Have Shifted: A NovelPam Houston is one of my all time favorite writers. Waltzing the Cat is my favorite of her books so far, but I am so very very excited for her newest book, Contents May Have Shifted (isn’t that a great title?!) I’ve heard her read from this several times as she’s worked on it and everything has been fantastic. Half of it made me tear up. I’ve been waiting for this to be released since I heard her read the short story that inspired the whole thing and loved it. Less than 2 months to go!

Pam is a great reader and if you’ve never heard her in person, you should! She’ll be on tour starting in February, and I plan to be at her kick-off reading on Feb 6th with my copy of Contents May Have Shifted ready to be signed. It’ll be at Book Passage, an excellent bookstore in Corte Madera where I will also be making an appearance in April.

But if you’re like me and wish you could read the book right now, here is the next best thing: a collection of photos from Pam’s travels and quotes from the novel with each one.

“Spotting whales at sea is not so different than spotting deer in the woods. For hours you see nothing, and then you see one, and suddenly you realize you are surrounded.” Continue reading