All In A Writer’s Life

Copy (2) of SAM_1540

In case you haven’t noticed, writers are an odd lot. With discerning tendencies, we impulsively detect meanings and construct narratives in literally everything.

Take, for instance, my half-dozen journals chockfull of reflections on topics ranging from the wordless tension of the writing discipline to being in the calming presence of ocean waves.

Our sense of time and place weighs so heavily that we take note of the faintest notions of sounds and textures, like this piece I constructed early one morning…

Excerpt from Paula Damon’s article in Plain Talk- Read more.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Top 10 Tips for Writers to Stay Inspired and Kick-Start Your Creativity


The dreaded blank page. You just can’t find that perfect opening line. Or maybe you’ve finally hit the crucial point in your story only to find that – poof! – inspiration has vanished. Whether you’re a seasoned author or someone struggling to get those first scenes down, there’s always a time where the words stop flowing. Elizabeth Gilbert, whose most recent book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, delves into the many ways we can spark creativity in our lives, recently answered some questions from readers via Ask the Author on Goodreads. It’s no surprise that many of her answers offered encouragement and support to other writers. Read on for 10 ways to conquer that blank page!

Excerpt from Cynthia’s post on Goodreads- Read more

Kabelo Mabalane: The Hardest Part of Writing I Ran For My Life Was Reliving the Past (Video)


I Ran For My Life: My Story by Kabelo Mabalane, co-written with Nechama Brodie, tells the remarkable story of how the TKZee kwaito star battled with drugs and won.

Mabalane was not alone in the battle. At the launch of his book at Exclusive Books Rosebank earlier this month, Mabalane told Eusebius McKaiser that the drugs left a dark void he needed to fill, and running became his substitute high. Not only is he today a 10-time SAMA award-winner, TV presenter, athlete and entrepreneur, he’s also completed eight Comrades Marathons.

Excerpt from Pam McMillan’s article and videos at Books Live- view more

A Conversation with Leah Lax, Author of Uncovered


Leah Lax’s extraordinary new memoir is Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home. Lax, who is a lesbian, presents a rare and intimate account of a woman’s life among the insular Hasidim, the Jewish ultra-orthodox, where she had an arranged marriage and raised many children. Perhaps because she had to keep her hair and body covered, her voice and much that was essential about her muted as well, Uncovered, becomes a beautiful, lyrical exploration of the suppression that informs many people’s lives and the paths they may seek to self-knowledge.

Excerpt from Julie Enszer’s interview with Leah Lax in the Huffington Post- Read more.

Coast Chronicles: The Writing Life: Part Two

Juggling words for others to read is dicey business. And that’s particularly true if there is any present conflict being discussed. Holy smoke. Last week I read through the spicy online interchange between several of our local citizens on an issue dear to many hearts and nearly fell out of my chair at the level of vitriol expended.

The problem is that once words are released from our lips, or our computers, and sent out into the big world on their mission, whatever we feel their mission is could be, and probably already is, compromised by whatever is happening in the minds of the beholders.

Excerpt from Sue Staples’ article in the Chinook Observer- Read more

Talking with Jill Bialosky about writing, editing and her new novel, ‘The Prize’

Jill Bialosky

Jill Bialosky likes to do a lot of things.

As executive editor at W.W. Norton, she has worked with writers such as Nicole Krauss, Mary Roach and Thomas Lynch. As a poet, she has published four collections, most recently “The Players,” which came out earlier this year. Her 2011 memoir, “History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life”, documents the life and death of her youngest sibling, Kim, who killed herself in 1990 when she was just 21.

Then there are the novels — “The Life Room,” “House Under Snow” and the newly published “The Prize” (Counterpoint: 348 pp., $25), which tells the story of Edwin Darby, partner in an art gallery; father, son and husband; a man in the middle of his life, wrestling with his own commitment to art, to aesthetics and to commerce, as well as to the people he loves.

Excerpt from David Ulin’s interview in the Los Angeles Times- Read more