By Leslie Lindsay
A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more
Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book
~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~
I have recently been on TWO writing retreats. They were both pretty fabulous. Being able to travel for these events is a true privilege and I am so very grateful to my supportive partner, who says, “Go! Have fun, learn some stuff.”
In doing this, I have returned re-energized, my writing soul fed, some good ol’ fashioned nature-immersion, gained clarity (or validation) on my writing projects, but also–sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Maybe I’m in over-my-head (like others are way better writers than me, or more experienced). I don’t always get as much writing done as hoped.
There’s a difference between what these writing excursions consist of. The words may sound the same, but I assure you, the definitions vary.
Typically a (long) weekend of writers (often with an instructor/mentor) who convene at the same location to talk craft, have write-ins, maybe some readings (without feedback/critique), good meals, exercise, and time in nature.
Maybe in conjunction with the above, but always involve a structured game plan, an instructor, feedback, craft, lessons, time to write and hone your craft. They may be online or in-person, over the course of an hour or day, or weekend.
Conferences & Festivals:
Industry-wide writerly connections, often with keynote addresses, masterclasses, a pick-and-choose schedule, often organized by genre: CNF, fiction, hybrid, poetry, etc. but not always. It may just be a pile of writers, sometimes with agent pitch sessions.
These are places where you often apply to hole yourself up and just write. You might be frantically trying to finish your novel and to do so, you need to relinquish all of your other work and life obligations. You might even be a ‘writer-in-residence’ at a place like a college or some kind of non-profit who is providing you a place in exchange for craft talks or editing, or something along those lines. They may even provide a small stipend. Although that may be a grant, so double-check on some of these opportunities.
Have you done anything like this? Did I miss something? Tell me all about it!
Respond here in a comment, or find me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
~Leslie : )
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What’s distracting/obsessing me:
- Professor of Architecture & Engineering at the University of Virginia and author of SUBTRACT Leidy Klotz‘s next [untitled] book, which blends behavioral science and design to explore our relationship with physical space, revealing how human psychology defines the environments we create and how, in turn, the built environment shapes the ways we think, feel, and act.
- Space, memory, nostalgia, architecture…
- My childhood home. In a recent writing class, the prompt was to ‘Google-Image your childhood address.’ I did and lo and behold, it had recently been on the market. While the exterior was instantly recognizable, the interior had changed drastically. Maybe for the better. But what is so striking about this is how a place of deep emotional residue can leave such a lasting impression. Looking at the images was almost a visceral experience.
- My next step on this obsession is to send a letter of inquiry to the new homeowners. I already know the address! I want to see if they’ll let me inside. : ) I’ll definitely keep you posted if this comes to fruition!
- November is a great time to catch on memoir or nonfiction. I don’t know…it’s turning inward thing, maybe? Or maybe it’s a sound thing: “Memoir November” and ‘Nonfiction November’ have a nice ring. Check out Amy Allen Clark’s recommendations. Some great titles from WILD GAME to THE SOUND OF GRAVEL and THE ELECTRIC WOMAN.
Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’
I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?
Take a peek at my Memoir Recommendations on Bookshop.org
Browse all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book
Some Writing Opportunities:
- Rooted Two: Best New Arboreal-related Nonfiction/Outpost19 is open for tree-related images, text, essays, and more through January 2023. Check out the submission guidelines here.
- Literary Mama is open year-round for work by both established and emerging writers about the complexities of motherhood. “We believe in a wide-ranging understanding of motherhood as experienced through multiple lenses and bodies.”
- Longleaf Review is open for completed interviews via Submittable
- Check out Author’s Publish for their November calls for contests, submissions, more.
- Fictive Dream is looking for flash CNF, fiction, etc. to be featured in February, a piece a day. Subs open now through Decemeber 31
- Khora is looking for 500 words and also visual art
Some Writing-related Craft Classes/Workshops & Retreats:
- Story Studio Chicago has a plethora of great offerings. Many of their classes are one-and-dones, but some are longer-term classes, some meet in-person, others on Zoom. Check them all out HERE.
- Book-in-a-Year 2023 Program with Madison Writers
- Save-the-date for this Madison Writer’s area Four Lakes Retreat, July 7-9 2023 where writers will convene for small group discussions, craft, workshops, and time to refuel.
- Creative Nonfiction Magazine has a ton of really great offerings. I especially like their Wednesday Webinar series. For $25 (sometimes discounted to $15), you can learn from the pros about craft. They are only 75 minutes or so…lunch and learn style!
Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:
- A conversation with Sheila O’Connor about elegantly exploring the nonlinear, (a total obsession of mine), in her EVIDENCE OF V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, Fictions (Rose Metal Press, 2019), in Fractured Literary, October 25, 2022
- A review-in-dialogue with Su Cho about her debut book of poetry, THE SYMMETRY OF FISH (Penguin Poets, October 2022) in The Cincinnati Review, November 1 2022.
- Prose in SEPIA Journal Oct/Nov 2022 issue. Interiors is about an Appalachian family, black bottom pie, trains, and ear aches. It was inspired by my own family lore, and also: this journal is STUNNING!
- An interview with Lauren Acampora about the pursuit of art, the suburbs, growth and stagnation, more as related to her highly anticipated novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS, in The Millions
- A review-in-dialogue with Kristine Langley Mahler about her debut, CURING SEASON: Artifacts, in Brevity. We unpack home, displacement, found forms, more.
- An essay about an experience at a workshop/retreat, featuring design/architecture, and how we are all works-in-progress, in The Smart Set.
- A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
- A piece in the nostalgia dossier of Levitate Magazine, about my childhood interest in a (vintage) kid’s rooms and spaces book.
- A conversation with Carla Zaccagnini about her book, Cuentos de Cuentas (Amant/Verlag, spring 2000) in The Millions.
- “Breaking Ground,” by Leslie Lindsay, flash fiction in The Tiny Journal
- “Making Space: Cicadas & My Mother,” by Leslie Lindsay, CNF in ANMLY
- Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, 2nd edition (Woodbine House, 2021) through some online retailers, your local library, used bookstores (it’s now officially out-of-print), and the audio edition is downloadable (with additional PDFs, resources) through Penguin Random House.
- A book review of YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS (Bellevue Literary Press, January 2023) by Adina Talve-Goodman in DIAGRAM.
- A conversation-in-review with the EIC of Slate, Erin Keane, about her memoir, RUNAWAY: Notes on the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing, September, 2022), to appear in Autofocus Literary.
- A photo essay in On the Seawall featuring miniatures, houses, and a family besieged by mental illness.
- A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.
- Other interviews forthcoming in HippocampusMagazine…Juliet Patterson’s SINKHOLE: A Natural History of a Suicide (Milkweed, September 2022) to appear in October.
- Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 8) to appear in November.
- Kathryn Gahl in conversation about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more
- A conversation-in-review with Nicole McCarthy on her genre-defying A SUMMONING (Heavy Feather Review, September 2022) to appear in CRAFT Literary in 2023.
- Tanya Frank’s ZIG-ZAG BOY: A Memoir of Motherhood & Madness (W.W. Norton, Feb 28 2023), a review and conversation to appear in Hippocampus Magazine, spring 2023.
I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications.
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I am currently obsessing over all the books David Naimon recommends and talks about on his podcast, Between the Covers, produced in conjunction with Tinhouse Books. I recently started The Baby on The Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, & the Mind-Baby Problem (W.W. Norton, Spring 2022) by Julie Phillips. Along those lines, I promptly ordered a copy of Helen Cixous writing craft classic, The Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing (University of Columbia Press, 1994). Also, just picked up a copy of The Artist’s House by Kirsten Bell (Sternberg Press, 2012), which delves into the hidden realms of visual artists, authors, photographers, more.
I also have a teetering pile of new literary fiction–amazing stuff that is either just-released or forthcoming and I am so very grateful to the publishers, publicists, and authors who have so generously sent them along. Thank you!
What I’m listening to:
Right now? Classical music and the hum of a space heater.
You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews. I’m also on twitter and instagram. I try to answer comments as best I can. Feel free to find my book suggestions on bookshop.org, and also check out the authors I’ve hosted in in-depth interviews HERE.
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Created by Leslie Lindsay. I’m a proud book nerd. Connect with me on Instagram, and Twitter. See what I’m reading on Bookshop.org. Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.
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