All posts tagged: writing craft

Musings & Meanderings: Are you always ready to write? Jeff Seitzer is, plus rest/reset/resort, THE FUN MASTER, where to submit, miniature love, more

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~ Hello, Friends! This time of year can kill me. It’s exciting, yes. It’s draining, too. Here’s why: After a full summer of being the ‘fun master,’ for kids all summer (more on that in today’s author chat below), I am drained. There is precious little time to regroup or to tend to my own needs over summer–that includes creativity and intellectual stimulation because I am driving, planning, executing, scheduling, and doing all the regular things that need doing–house maintenance, work, etc. I can’t find it now, but I came across a meme that read, “I didn’t go on vacation…I supervised and bankrolled my kids while they were on theirs.” Then…school. You’d think that would be great. It’s not. At least not at first. New kid schedules, teachers, coaches, expectations. There’s a full academic and sports schedule to follow. Times two kids. Every teacher sends emails about …

Musings & Meanderings: Beverly Armento’s memoir SEEING EYE GIRL about her blind, mentally ill mother, summer doldrums, reading recs, poetry to inspire writing, and last chance to nab a copy of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA

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~ Hello, Friends! Is this a season of withdrawal, regrouping, reassessing…from your art? Even though it is summer and full of bounty, I am feeling…taxed. I have a dear friend who is much like a mother and a mentor and always so wise. She gives me what I need the most when I need it. Here’s her advice: So many things unfold when we give ourselves adequate space. And don’t doubt yourself so much. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Do you relate? I’m often jam-packing my days (and brain) with facts, tasks, trivia, ideas…so many ideas…that I forget to just BE. I met with other friends for coffee recently and so much of our conversation revolved around our vision–and this can be interpreted broadly: how we see ourselves, how we see others? What is your vision for the rest of the summer? The conversation was about recognition, being …

Musings & Meanderings: Caitlin Billings on the ‘construction of gender,’ her new mental health memoir, plus deconstructing flash, where to submit this June, being curious & varied

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~ Hello, Friends! Curiosity. That’s what a writer needs. She also needs varied life experiences. A break in routine. I tell you this because…well, it’s true for me, but but because it ought to be true for every writer. Here’s why: stagnancy doesn’t produce dynamic anything. So…are you… Exploring? Observing? Questioning? Doodling? Day-dreaming? Remember when you were a kid, maybe 4 years old or so, and well-meaning adults asked, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I mean, we start early with this. Guess what?! I still don’t know!!! Lately, we’ve been taking our daughter on college visits. They all want to know what ‘school,’ or ‘major’ she’s going to select. She loves (and is good at) lots of things. So, how to narrow it down? Does she need to know? No. That’s the beauty of being inquisitive and multi-interested. Our ideas and …

Generative Writing Practice: Old photographs, retreats, books, listening to one’s intuition, an interview with Mary Laura Philpott, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay After reading Mary Laura Philpott’s forthcoming, highly-anticipated memoir-in-essays, BOMB SHELTER (April 12, Atria Books), I knew I had to talk with her. Seriously, this woman is funny. She ‘gets’ it. She’s a writer and mother of teenagers/college-aged kids and we share some similar Southern-isms, like ‘oh my word,’ and ‘bless your heart,’ and ‘what in Sam Hill is this?’ But she’s thoughtful and deep and there’s a great conversation about structure, turtles, doing hard things. Come eavesdrop on our conversation HERE. Some exciting news: I’ll be on writing retreat/workshop mode next week…in Guatemala! This is exciting because it combines several of my favorite things: writing, travel, gorgeous places, and a gathering of like-minded individuals. I’ll miss my family (and routine) terribly, but I this will be the creative re-set I crave. I just took a fabulous online flash workshop with the lovely and talented Kathy Fish. The Art of Flash catapulted many ideas and pieces. If this is a genre that interests, I encourage you to check it out. After nearly a …

Elizabeth Brundage discusses her fabulously dark and mysterious new novel, THE VANISHING POINT, how she enjoys investigating conflict from several angles, stylistic choices, existential questions & more

By Leslie Lindsay A spare, unflinching, gorgeously rendered tale of intersections and cross-sections of our lives, the memories, jealousies, secrets, and more. I am swooning over THE VANISHING POINT (Little, Brown May 18 2021) by Elizabeth Brundage. It’s eerie, evocative, entangling and pulls at a knotted thread of mystery. Here it has all of the hallmarks for gorgeous prose: it’s emotionally resonant leaving the reader with residual feelings and thoughts while at the same time generating forward momentum, it’s stunning. Julian Ladd and Rye Adler are photography students–and roommates, briefly—during a time while attending an exclusive workshop, mentored by Brodsky, a photography great. It’s mostly men, but there’s a woman, too, Magda, a Polish immigrant who has spent most of her life in the U.S. Both men are fascinated and captivated by her, but no one can seem to ‘have’ her. Julian and Rye’s lives diverge; they take different paths. Julian becomes ensconced in the pharmaceutical industry and Rye pursues photography. In fact, he’s at the top of his game, snapping photographs of celebrities and the like. But now someone’s …

Tori Starling talks about her debut, CRAZY FREE, traversing three generations of women, postpartum depression, anxiety; plus a defunct mental health institution, how we need more resources, the healing power of energy medicine, more

By Leslie Lindsay What if the story you had always been led to believe about your family was shaken with a new, devastating truth? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Motherhood & Mental Health What if the story you had always been led to believe about your family was shaken with a new, devastating truth? That’s the overarching question in CRAZY FREE (Juniper Ray Publishing, April 20th), a debut by Tori Starling. I was immediately entranced with this stunning cover, but what’s more: CRAZY FREE focuses on issues that are near and dear to my heart: motherhood and mental illness. Emily Sharp has always known there were holes in her family history. Her mother, Pam, a high-strung attorney, rarely speaks of her father she despises and her mother died when she was a baby. Emily is a journalist with an assignment from Southern Speaks, a local magazine, to investigate a defunct mental institution known as Hamilton Meadow. While there, Emily discovers more about the institution and Pam reluctantly opens up about her sordid family …

Deborah Shepherd on unearthing a 30-year old manuscript, re-writing it, character development, mental health, gardening, first loves, being creative at all ages and more in SO HAPPY TOGETHER

By Leslie Lindsay  Completely engaging and totally immersive read about a woman’s journey to find her long-lost love, but what she finds is completely different from what she imagined. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ May Spotlight: Mothers & Mental Health/Illness  When Carolyn Tanner flees her unhappy marriage for a cross-country trip to find her long-lost ‘true love’ Peter, she’s in for a bumpy ride. I loved SO HAPPY TOGETHER (published by SWP April 20 2021). I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one–would it be sappy? Sad? Mysterious? Too light? I was completely gobsmacked with SO HAPPY TOGETHER, which is told from the POV of a smart, feisty, and instantly likable wife/mother/writer. Carolyn Mills-Tanner’s stultifying marriage and life as a harried mother is wearing thin. Her three children–ranging in ages from 8 to 14, are heading to summer camp and Carolyn now has the opportunity to travel cross-country to find her first love, Peter MacKinley, from her days as a drama major at the University of Arizona. She leaves a ‘Dear John’ note for her …

Hugely moving and tragic memoir, EVERYTHING’S FINE about mothers, sons, & brothers…one with severe mental illness, a horrific tragedy, healing, more–Vince Granata and I chat about this and more

By Leslie Lindsay An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS |ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  I finished this book last night and I am so moved and yet, simultaneously disturbed. It’s one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, authentic memoirs I’ve read in a long time. This family will stay with me. Vince Granata recalls standing in front of his suburban home, chalk in hand, as he greeted his mother and father and three siblings (triplets) home from the hospital. The family had just doubled in size. He was ecstatic; finally: playmates, siblings. But twenty-three years later, one of those siblings–Tim–will develop severe mental illness–likely schizophrenia. He’s plagued by paranoid delusions, …

Is there a WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE? Maybe our experiences are so widely varied that there is no wrong—or right way? Megan STIELSTRA talks about thiS, motherhood, feeling stuck, being seen

by Leslie Lindsay Raw, bold and ravishing memoir loosely hinged on the concept of fear. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS Book of the Year Award, Nonfiction, Chicago Review of Books, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Public Library, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Magazine, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Heidi Stevens for the Chicago Tribune, December 2017 2017 Favorites, The Rumpus, December 2017 Best Nonfiction of 2017, Vol 1. Brooklyn, December 2017 Best Books by Women in 2017, Bustle, November 2017 Great Essay Collections of 2017, Book Riot, November 2017 Finalist, Book of the Year, Nonfiction, Chicago Writer’s Association, October 2017 Is it instinct, or distinct? I am not sure and I think both apply in THE WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE by Megan Stielstra (Harper Perennial, 2017). Here, we dive into so many topics that are forbidden at the dinner table: feminism, the perils of academia, the writing life, postpartum depression, childhood cancer, motherhood, sex. And fear. There’s so much fear under these words, it’s palpable. These essays–or stories–snapshots, …

Inspired by a time of isolation & distance from her family, prolific and award-winning author Sebnem Isiguzel pens a story of about coming of age during a violent political unrest in THE GIRL IN THE TREE

By Leslie Lindsay  A young woman climbs the tallest tree in Instanbul’s centuries-old Gulahane Park, determined to live out the rest of her days there, what follows is her story.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Şebnem İşigüzel is a prolific and much-lauded writer in her native Turkey, and with publication of THE GIRL IN THE TREE (Amazon, April 17 2020), American readers will discover a fresh, memorable, and extraordinary voice in contemporary literature. Amnesty International’s website describes the Gezi Park protests this way: “On 30 May 2013, police cleared Gezi Park in central Istanbul of a small group of protestors opposed to its destruction. The denial of their right to protest and the violence used by the police touched a nerve and a wave of anti-government demonstrations swept across Turkey.”  What really happened in Gezi in 2013? In Şebnem İşigüzel’s THE GIRL IN THE TREEthe author gives voice to that world in a powerful debut about a girl’s coming of age amid violent unrest and her unexpected escape. Perched in an abandoned stork’s nest in a sanctuary …