Stopping in the Bookstore

It was really hot today. I needed to walk around town, dropping of fliers for our new studio and classes, so I slipped into The Griffin to order a frozen berry smoothie. There on a low shelf, I noticed The Practical Writer. I own way too many writing books, but I couldn’t resist.

Now I can’t put it down.

“Think of The Practical Writer as a five-star-writers’ conference, minus the salad bar and the steep enrollment fee,” says Wally Lamb.

Julie Checkoway’s suggestions on beginnings and endings make me want to dig out that short story I wrote and tackle it again.

The book was published in 2004 by Poets & Writers. Some of the publishing advice is somewhat dated, but that won’t keep me from putting it on my studio shelf.

Hooray for small-town bookstores, and coffee shops, and butchers, and art studios!




Keeping Faith

Sometimes I am so hard on myself. One class doesn’t work as planned, and I berate myself for being a poor teacher. Another rejection comes from a literary magazine, and I refuse to take joy in the acceptances and publications I’ve already received.

You know what I’m talking about. The exasperating voice in our heads, the one that says: LOSER. You can almost feel the finger pointing right between your eyes.

I’m lucky, though. I tend to be a glass half-full kind of person. Once I can feel the weight piling up on my shoulders, I start tossing those layers of negativity aside. Soon, I dive back into the project at hand.

I begin again, remembering this from Annie Dillard:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.