Solitude

I don’t remember when loneliness became solitudebut I do remember when solitude became wingsthat lifted me in softnessbeyond the sigh of the dayacross a landscape of quiet sunshineabove a sky with no horizon Diana Cawfield

Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder: A Memoir, by Julia Zarankin

This is a book of personal essays, in which various aspects of Zarankin’s extensive birding activities remind her of various things about herself. (Birds, in other words, are often treated as means, rather than an end.) I found some pieces wonderfully well-written, others not so much (the one concerning which bird she would like to…

The Regency Effect

The ease with which your writing flows at a residential FreefallWriting™ workshop is due at least in part to the phenomenon known as “the recency effect” – the fact that whatever we have experienced most recently will tend to be uppermost in our thoughts. When there are no interruptions between sleep, in which your subconscious predominates, and…

Birds of America, by Mary McCarthy

It’s time to pull unread books from the cottage shelves, and this summer, Birds of America came to hand. Written in 1965, it follows the thoughts of young Peter Levi, a half-Jewish, half-European American, who is attempting to live his life by Kant’s Categorical Imperative: to treat other people as an end, rather than as a means,…

August 2021, Prizes and Publications

In stories: British writer Geoff Mead’s short story, Room 1-0-1, written during this year’s Poulstone/Treowen workshop, was published in The Phare Literary Magazine’s Summer Edition: https://www.thephare.com/short-stories/room-1-0-1-  Australian Rashida Murphy has had a collection of short stories which “mostly all had their beginnings in Freefall” shortlisted for the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. She is also writing personal essays,…

Open Out those Pivotal Moments

  All too often, in autobiographical writing, I see writers dodge the knotty, meaningful moments when they changed their minds about something significant. Yes, those moments often feel hard to write about. But if you open out those pivotal moments, you’ll find they’re the places that most clearly show your reader who their subject is..…

Writing is a Process

Writing Is a Process (that Your Inner Critic Treats as a Product) Do you ever feel suddenly convinced that you can’t write one more word (of your novel, memoir, Ph.D. thesis, etc.) without going back to revise what you’ve already written? Suddenly you’re walking in cement boots, dragging your way forward. “Go back!” your inner…

She Turned Her Head Away by Patricia Moffat.

She Turned Her Head Away by Patricia Moffat.  Subtitled “An Adoption Memoir”, this book is in fact so much more than that. Sometimes it reads like an intelligent whodunit (as the author pursues the trail of her birth-mother), sometimes like an insightful psychological novel. And on every page, it provides what I think I primarily…

Welcome Discouragement

To be open to writing is to be open to all the familiar parts of the writing process: the elation, the discouragement, and all that lies between.  Welcome discouragement.  Without it, you’ll get nowhere, even though it can be the hardest of your old friends to love.

Poem: A Center

You must hold your quiet center, where you do what only you can do. If others call you a maniac or a fool, just let them wag their tongues.  If some praise your perseverance,  don’t feel too happy about it — only solitude is a lasting friend.   You must hold your distant center. Don’t…

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