Fiction and the Weave of Life
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Everything I wanted—education, meaningful career, kids—I could get for myself and by myself minus a donation here or there.
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And so in college, I decided I was done with men. Talk about stress! Any guesses what happened? And all you can do is to go where they can find you. Pooh is brilliant, especially for a bear of little brain. He interacts with the world knowing that the Poetry and Hums are there. He keeps himself ready for other Poetry and Hums to find him, too. And they do. When we stay relaxed and positive and open to possibilities, things find us. Sometimes they are things we already knew we wanted and had prepared ourselves to accept.
This is an especially necessary attitude for anyone writing a novel. We tend to understand this from the creative side—writing is an organic, fluid process. For the better part of two years, I determined to make a traditional publishing journey happen just how I was told it should and just when I thought it ought to. Trained by the publishing version of a cotillion, I endeavored to get the agent and go for one of the big five.
I was ready to give up. I did keep learning what I could about indie publishing, but I did it patiently, without expectation, in a mind of readiness. And then a call came telling me I was a finalist for the Claymore. I went to the conference with no expectations, and I met some wonderful writers and editors and was inspired. I went to the awards dinner with no anticipation and no worry. I was genuinely and thoroughly shocked when they announced that Bohemian Gospel my book!
I was overjoyed when, two weeks later, several editors were vying for the novel, and I was ecstatic when Pegasus Books, one of the publishers I asked my agent to court, made me an offer. Last year was also the first time our daughter decided to stay up and ring in the New Year.
So we said a tearful goodbye to one Doctor our favorite , a trepidatious hello to another, and then we watched the ball drop in Times Square. As tough as was for me and my family, it was a year of survival.
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But as the Doctor shows us, time and again, change comes. The agonizing departure of the Tenth, who was so obsessed with looking back the Doctor of Regret as The Moment calls him that he breaks the rules to take a farewell tour and say goodbye to his many companions, nearly destroys the TARDIS. One is constantly looking to the past and the other is running headlong into the future; neither of them is very good at just being in the moment—understandable for a Time Lord, I suppose.
Will it snake a gnarly hand around your ankle and snatch you away? For a planner and control freak, like me, focusing on what might be coming seems natural, logical. But I learned quickly that imagining the possibilities—surgery, what the pathology might indicate, potential chemo or radiation, prognosis—only choked me with fear.
Anticipating the future, living in dread of the changes that might happen or living for the thrill of them, wipes out the joys of the moment. Likewise, looking back to what was, comparing now to then which we almost always idealize , distorts our attitudes about change. I walked into a hospital whole and came out transformed. When days later I stood in my bathroom and took off the bandages and let my eyes slide from the reflection of my familiar face down to the incisions that stretched across my chest where my breasts had been, I understood vividly the choice I had to make.
I could compare my new breasts, also grown or crafted by the plastic surgeon over a summer, to those other breasts and forever tether myself to the past. And these new breasts are round and firm! Despite not wanting to go, the Doctor embraces his new self quickly and sets about the work of discovery. Fish sticks and custard, anyone? A little change of pace here. When I started taking my writing seriously, clearing chunks of time from an already packed schedule, I knew lots of things would suffer the consequences.
My house, for example, has not been fully, wholly, scandalously clean in a few years. But our neighbors love us anyway. Plus, the neighbors are just wonderful people. Weedy yards and a less-than-pristine house are consequences I find easy to live with and well worth the gains of time to write and the joy that comes from having written. At first, I stole hours late at night after the kids were in bed. I worked my way up to claiming a few hours on the weekend, cloistering myself in the back room—one earbud in for tunes and an open ear turned house-ward, listening in case someone needed me.
Surprisingly, I got work done, some of it even good. But it took being awarded sabbatical to nudge me toward really carving the time I needed to research and write and edit my first novel; writing was my JOB that semester, and my university would be expecting results. My husband and I always managed our teaching schedules so one of us was at the university and the other was at home, schooling the kids.
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But there was still a twinge of thinking I was being selfish. She started writing. Every day. For months. Until she completed her first novel, 80 some odd pages. She was not yet And then she finished her second, over pages. My son is dictating a book about a dinosaur named Maple to his sister, who diligently types every word. And my husband is working through revisions on a forthcoming book about comics.
Seamless weave of fact and fiction brings poet Rupert Brooke to life
But he sometimes went nuts. Not just ordinary nuts, you know, but run-around-the-apartment-so-fast-that-he-could-race-halfway-up-the-wall kind of nuts.
And he hated the car, erupting with deep-throated, belly-aching meows for the entire five-hour trip back home. He got quiet. Music does that—fits a person or a situation or a place—in real life and, for many writers, in their fiction, too. For Bohemian Gospel , I needed go to the thirteenth century. I wanted to hear what my characters would hear. You can get a taste of it here. I also listened to a variety of Gregorian Chants. Skip to content. What about when fictional characters interact with real people from history — like, say, Franz Kafka?
Marker, a poet and playwright, documents her experiences through notes, photographs and artifacts, including a series of letters to the then-recently-deceased Franz Kafka, describing the rise of fascism in her native country, her daily life, and run-ins with other historical figures such as Gertrude Stein.
Weaving together fact and fiction
Curated by museum director Alla Efimova, the exhibition — which winds around one large gallery room — also includes film and audio components. The exhibition brochure includes a timeline of historical events in Eastern Europe to which Marker bore witness. The exhibition is the culmination of more than a decade of work — including published short stories and essays, as well as short plays that have been staged around the Bay Area — by Roth, all featuring Marker as the main character.
She taught at three U. While putting the final touches on this exhibition, she was readying the syllabus for her contemporary art history class. I interviewed psychologists and wove our personal story into the piece. The article won an award! Weave your story into your article. I then mention some of my own issues or concerns as I posed solutions or tips from both the expert and myself. I often end the article with a personal story as well.
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Previous NFWU member challenges have included detailed instructions and tips on how to conduct interviews and write magazine articles and query letters. These homework assignments, as well as related events, are archived in the NFWU for members to access at any time. To find out more about or join the NFWU, click here.