All posts tagged: writing life

Musings & Meanderings: Max Seeck speaks about ghosts of one’s past; writing as a calling, sharing your traumatic life stories, bending time, SINKHOLE, ‘Clinics of the Past,’ exciting books of 2023

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 2023, Friends! Sometimes it’s daunting to write. If it’s your life story, or something of equal weight and power, it might be really hard. What if there’s trauma? I guarantee there’s trauma. I recently heard this phrase, ‘nested in trauma,’ and I found that so evocative. The idea is that all story–and all life–is somehow bookended and infused with trauma. Also? The degree of trauma is subjective. Back to writing. It’s hard to back away from a story you’re compelled to share. I know, I’ve been there. I’m there right now. It’s feels like a calling, but I also wonder: is it stupid? Will anyone else care? It’s terrifying and joyful and challenging. It’s creative and vulnerable. What if you hurt someone you care about? What if you open too many cans of worms? What if it’s too traumatic to relive the past? You certainly …

Musings & Meanderings: A Curious month, January. Derek T. Freeman on BUILDING UNSTOPPABLE SELF-CONFIDENCE IN TEENS, purging, writer self-care, hybrid writing contests, workshops, retreats, 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 2023, Friends! January is a curious month. Is it a coming or a going? New and fresh or letting go of the old? I struggle with this every year. In the Midwest, it’s cold. I don’t feel like opening doors and windows to ‘let in the new year,’ likewise for ‘spring cleaning.’ It’s not really spring, either–anywhere. Maybe we ought to rename it ‘New Year Cleaning?’ This year is off to a rough start. When I put it in perspective, it’s not so bad…but let’s just say it’s not flowing like usual, mostly in a personal sense, but a few professional hiccups, too. I’ll get through it! Here’s a little secret: raising kind humans is hard work. Being a kind human is hard work. We’ve got lots of ‘firsts’ happening–all in one week! Sweet Sixteen, college acceptances (and indecision), first jobs, a trip to the …

Musings & Meanderings: Lauren Camp on TOOK HOUSE, tips for reading more in 2023, how to read literary journals, stock images, playlists, book recommendations, interviews with authors, 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 2023, Friends! Many folks ask how I read so much in a year. Trust me, there are others who read far more than I! My goal for the last couple of years has been 80 books a year. That’s roughly a book-and-a-half a week. It would be disingenuous not to say that reading is part of my job; I treat it as such. I have a pretty active lifestyle–and mind!–and so I sometimes struggle to keep up. In fact, this last year, I was scrambling to get all 80 books in before the end-of-the-year, but I did it! Here are some gentle tips and encouragement, if you need it: Carry a book with you at all times. It doesn’t have to be a physical book, but maybe something on your Kindle or phone. You never know when you might be ‘stranded’ somewhere without something to …

Musings & Meanderings: A shout-out in P&W, houses of artists, where to submit, upcoming workshops, retreats, reading recommendations, manuscript consulting, 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 2023, Friends! I’m writing this from a snowy-ish Chicago and reflecting on the year that just passed while gearing up for 2023. It’s a slower pace, and I welcome that. My plan is to clear up the flurry that became my December office as we were preparing for an International trip, the holidays (my birthday is tossed in there, too…my daughter’s is next week…the celebrations just don’t stop!), and all of that year-end stuff. I find liberating to let the past year settle, yet there’s a collusion of seasons that make for a mess. I’m in that collusion stage. Surrounding me–on my desk–at least fourteen books, one literary journal, and some poetry chapbooks. I have notes from a book I am reading (whichis in the other room, next to my reading chair), on my desk with the intention to look up things I read about–you …

Musings & Meanderings

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! I am getting excited for the winter solstice, this gentle turning-in, these cozy darker days. What is it about the darkness that conjures creativity? Maybe it’s the way it encourages a hibernation, a slower pace, a time to go fallow? For me it’s a bit like crawling into the cave of creativity, having nothing else vying for my attention–at least outside–no garden to water or plants that require nurturing. Reading, contemplating, playing on the page, listening, looking out the window, observing patterns. Just this past weekend, I took a workshop with Esme Weijun Wang, most recently the author of The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays (Graywolf Press, 2019), and it was so warm, generous, validating, with really great tips for setting intentions and looking back on the last year. Here are just a few things that we discussed, which I wanted to pass along to you: …

Musings & Meanderings: What writers need, where to submit, an archive of author interviews, book lists to tempt, building teen confidence, 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! I recently had dinner with my extended family. They don’t really ‘get’ the writing life. Maybe they think writers are all heads-in-the-clouds dreamy type people, or maybe they just don’t understand it, respect it/value it, but it got me thinking about what we–readers and writers–need, as a way to sustain our art. Let this be a wish list for you…now and in the New Year. We all need support. This doesn’t have to be financial, but that’s good, too! What I’m getting at is someone who says, “yep–I support this.” We all need time to think, because half (more?) of all writing is thinking. So clear the clutter in your mind. Meditate. Walk. Exercise. Journal. It’s never ‘wasted time.’ We all need the time to write. This could be a few minutes a day, a weekend, or however you determine it. Carving out a …

Musings & Meanderings: Taking risk with your art, going hybrid, planning your 2023 writing year, classes and workshops, where to submit, author interviews, reading recommendations

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! I shall now tell you an embarrassing story about myself. You may know this, but I am a Type A Personality. I am also very stubborn. I usually have my reasons. [If that doesn’t sound stubborn!]. Listening to others is important because I like to consider lots of alternatives, because, also: I am an overthinker. Most of the time I ignore these thoughtful folks and do what I want anyway. I am a grown woman and responsible for my own life, right? Often I lead with my gut–my heart–my intuition, and it turns out swimmingly. Sometimes not. I’m totally okay with that, I would regret not trying or doing or saying something. You might be wondering what the thing was that I did…and while it doesn’t really matter, it made me pause. Did I do something wrong? No. This person and I are just …

Musings & Meanderings: Memoir Monday Sarah Fawn Montgomery chats with me about nostalgia, finding home, feeling creatively moored, disconnection, and so much 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! I’ve been a little remiss in updating author interviews here, as they go out, as promised. If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that I have been in the practice of interviewing bestselling and debut authors right here, on my website, Always with a Book. I’ve done this for a good decade or so. What I learned was many authors were simply ‘too busy’ to contribute to a blog. I shifted my focus to publishing in lit journals. So, if you’ve been wondering where all my interviews went, that’s where. But I want to catch you up! Going forward, I will do my absolute best to re-post those interviews here, incase they slipped past. Also, in my newsletter, ‘Musings & Meanderings,’ I always make mention of them. Just click on the link and it’ll take you directly to the piece. Juggling a website and several …

Musings & Meanderings: College finals care packages, RUNAWAY interview with Erin Keane, Corporeal Writing Labs, merch, and more from Ragdale to Tin House, this issue is all about continuing your writing education

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! There may be times when we feel we are spinning our wheels, doing lots of stuff, but getting nowhere. I assure you, we are not. Here’s the deal: all of this static momentum is building, accumulating. It may seem as if you’ve reached a plateau, that your art is just moving at a lateral pace. Could it be that what you need right now is just to…be?! To read, observe, absorb? Maybe it means you are in a season of submitting your work and waiting for responses. That’s still work. That’s still something. Maybe you are in the process of reading/researching or world-building. That might look like collaging or watching period movies or culling through racks at a vintage clothing store. Maybe it looks like mindful mediation or walking with a notebook in hand. Perhaps it’s listening to a podcast on writing/reading and collecting …

Musings & Meanderings: Childhood homes, how designed spaces affect our behavior, retreats vs workshops vs residencies, where to submit your work, recent interviews, 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! 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. Retreats: 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 …