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The Muses Among Us is an inviting, encouraging book for writers at any stage of their development. In a series of first-person letters, essays, manifestos, and notes to the reader, Kim Stafford shows what might happen at the creative boundary he calls "what we almost know." On the boundary's far side is our story, our poem, our song. On this side are the resonant hunches, griefs, secrets, and confusions from which our writing will emerge. Guiding us from such glimmerings through to a finished piece are a wealth of experiments, assignments, and tricks of the trade that Stafford has perfected over thirty years of classes, workshops, and other gatherings of writers. Informing The Muses Among Us are Stafford's own convictions about writing--principles to which he returns again and again. We must, Stafford says, honor the fragments, utterances, and half-discovered truths voiced around us, for their speakers are the prophets to whom writers are scribes. Such filaments of wisdom, either by themselves or alloyed with others, give rise to our poems, stories, and essays. In addition, as Stafford writes, "all pleasure in writing begins with a sense of abundance--rich knowledge and boundless curiosity." By recommending ways for students to seek beyond the self for material, Stafford demystifies the process of writing and claims for it a Whitmanesque quality of participation and community.
This collection of essays by well-established professional writers explores how their notebooks serve as their studios and workshops—places to collect, to play, and to make new discoveries with language, passions, and curiosities. For these diverse writers, the journal also serves as an ideal forum to develop their writing voice, whether crafting fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Some entries include sample journal entries that have since developed into published pieces. Through their individual approaches to keeping a notebook, the contributors offer valuable advice, personal recollections, and a hardy endorsement of the value of using notebooks to document, develop, and nurture a writer's creative spark. Designed for writers of all genres and all levels of experience, Writers and Their Notebooks celebrates the notebook as a vital tool in a writer's personal and literary life.
Bret and Kim Stafford, the oldest children of the poet and pacifist William Stafford, were pals. Bret was the good son, the obedient public servant, Kim the itinerant wanderer. In this family of two parent teachers, with its intermittent celebration of “talking recklessly,” there was a code of silence about hard things: “Why tell what hurts?” As childhood pleasures ebbed, this reticence took its toll on Bret, unable to reveal his troubles. Against a backdrop of the 1960s — puritan in the summer of love, pacifist in the Vietnam era — Bret became a casualty of his interior war and took his life in 1988. 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do casts spells in search of the lost brother: climbing the water tower to stand naked under the moon, cowboys and Indians with real bullets, breaking into church to play a serenade for God, struggling for love, and making bail. In this book, through a brother’s devotions, the lost saint teaches us about depression, the tender ancestry of violence, the quest for harmonious relations, and finally the trick of joy.
Theorists of Orientalism and postcolonialism argue that novelists betray political and cultural anxieties when characterizing "the Other." Shameem Black takes a different stance. Turning a fresh eye toward several key contemporary novelists, she reveals how "border-crossing" fiction represents socially diverse groups without resorting to stereotype, idealization, or other forms of imaginative constraint. Focusing on the work of J. M. Coetzee, Amitav Ghosh, Jeffrey Eugenides, Ruth Ozeki, Charles Johnson, Gish Jen, and Rupa Bajwa, Black introduces an interpretative lens that captures the ways in which these authors envision an ethics of representing social difference. They not only offer sympathetic portrayals of the lives of others but also detail the processes of imagining social difference. Whether depicting the multilingual worlds of South and Southeast Asia, the exportation of American culture abroad, or the racial tension of postapartheid South Africa, these transcultural representations explore social and political hierarchies in constructive ways. Boldly confronting the orthodoxies of recent literary criticism, Fiction Across Borders builds upon such seminal works as Edward Said's Orientalism and offers a provocative new study of the late twentieth-century novel.
ÿWriting for Blissÿis most fundamentally about reflection, truth, and freedom. With techniques and prompts for both the seasoned and novice writer, it will lead you to tap into your creativity through storytelling and poetry,examine how life-changing experiences can inspire writing,pursue self-examination and self-discovery through the written word, and,understand how published writers have been transformed by writing.Poet and memoirist Raab (Lust) credits her lifelong love of writing and its therapeutic effects with inspiring her to write this thoughtful and detailed primer that targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir. Most compelling here is Raab?s willingness to share her intimate stories (e.g., the loss of a relative, ongoing struggles with cancer, a difficult relationship with her mother). Her revelations are encouraging to writers who feel they need ?permission to take... a voyage of self-discovery.? The book?s seven-step plan includes plenty of guidance, including on learning to ?read like a writer,? and on addressing readers as if ?seated across the table .? Raab covers big topics such as the ?art and power of storytelling? and small details such as choosing pens and notebooks that you enjoy using. She also helps readers with the important step of ?finding your form.? --PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY "Writing for Blissÿis about the profound ways in which we may be transformed in and through the act of writing. I am grateful to Diana Raab for sharing it, and I trust that you will feel the same as you read on. May you savor the journey." --from the foreword by MARK FREEMAN, PhD "By listening to ourselves and being aware of what we are saying and feeling, the true story of our life's past experience is revealed. Diana Raab?s book gives us the insights by which we can achieve this through her life-coaching wisdom and our writing." --BERNIE SIEGEL, MD, author ofÿThe Art of Healing "Only a talented writer who has fought hard to overcome life?s many obstacles could take her readers by the hand and lead them through the writing process with such enormous compassion, amazing insight, and kindness. Diana Raab is a powerful, wise, intelligent guide well worth our following." --JAMES BROWN, author ofÿThe Los Angeles DiariesÿandÿThe River "Writing for Blissÿis far more than a 'how-to manual'; it enlightens the creative process with wisdom and a delightful sense of adventure. Bravo to Bliss!" --LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author ofÿSearching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton "Uniquely blending inspiring insights with practical advice, Diana guides you on a path to discover the story that is truly inside you?and yearning to be told." --PATRICK SWEENEY, coauthor of the New York Times bestsellerÿSucceed on Your Own Terms DIANA RAAB, PhD, is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, workshop facilitator, thought provoker, and survivor. She?s the author of eight books and over one thousand articles and poems. She lives in Southern California. Learn more at www.DianaRaab.com

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