Thursday, June 03, 2021

Irons and Fires

Summer is off and running, and I have many irons in different fires this year. Writing, as always, is the fire that attracts all of my irons.

Personally, I’m about 150 pages into a novel I’m writing (and rewriting). That comes with keeping a journal in which I plot out where I’m going and ask questions about the story. The journal is where I solve the puzzle –– not so much as to how the book will end but rather how I’ll get from A to Z. I know the who and the why, but the journal is a great place to think through the road I’ll travel as the book progresses.

Another iron has led me to call on my Type M colleagues: I’m leading a summer program for young writers, and have several Type M authors offering mid-day Artist Talks, which I am thrilled about and grateful for. In addition, as I have for the past 20+ years, I’m heavily involved in the Advanced Placement English Language program this summer, grading the AP English Language and Composition Exam and leading two AP Summer Institutes for English teachers.

Through all of these endeavors, I have stumbled upon a book that I think anyone teaching writing ought to read, Craft in the Real World, by Matthew Salesses. If you’re teaching a writing workshop, it’s a game-changer, especially if you attended an MFA program and lead workshops. If you simply want a new lens through which to view the way Western and non-Western literature is structured, it’ll open your eyes. It certainly has opened mine.

I hope everyone’s summer is off to a great and safe start.

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