All posts tagged: writing process

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: 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 …

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 …

Amy Koppelman talks about her very personal book–how the feelings & emotions are psychologically resonate, but the story is fiction, plus Amanda Seyfried starring in A MOUTHFUL OF AIR, postpartum depression, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay Stunning and elegant portrayal of the rawness of postpartum depression, told in elegant and authentic, sparse prose ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING AMANDA SEYFRIED, from Sony Pictures October 2021! Leslie Lindsay & Amy Koppelman in conversation Amy Koppelman is a writer, director, and producer and is a graduate of Columbia’s MFA program. Her writing has appeared in The New York Observer and Lilith. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children, and is the author of the novels, A Mouthful of Air, I Smile Back, and Hesitation Wounds. ABOUT A MOUTHFUL OF AIR: It seems strange to give A MOUTHFUL OF AIR (Two Dollar Radio, August 17 2021) such lavish praise, because the subject matter is really quite dark, but the execution of this near-autofiction is just so gorgeously rendered, I felt truly amazed and almost tremulous in its company. Compared to classic feminist works such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, A MOUTHFUL …

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 …

Leah Hampton talks about her debut story collection, F*CKFACE, set in rural Appalachia, plus her writing tips & routines, climate change, geography, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A bold, brassy debut collection of short stories set in modern-day Appalachia explore the environmental and geographical elements of these resilient, durable–and often stubborn–folks. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recently, my family and I visited rural Appalachia for the first time; I was swept away. The geography, the landscape was at once familiar, and yet foreign. It stirred me; cast a spell. Something about the purple haze unfurling from the mountains, the way they were formed when the African continent collided with the North American one, creating a buckle, then drifting away, seems somehow poetic and disturbing. And so when Leah Hampton’s F*CKFACE: And Other Stories (Henry Holt, July 2020) came to my attention, I knew I had to read it. F*CKFACE is comprised of twelve short stories, all set in Appalachia, and are at once funny, tragic, and disturbing. There are park rangers and corpses, illicit sex, dead bears and grocery stores, infertility, there’s a young man estranged from his parents and more distanced when he leaves for Afghanistan; there are frogs and locals and …

John McCarthy talks about the power of poetry, emotional response, the intuitive process of writing, the haunting landscape of the Midwest, an amazing reading list, and so much more in SCARED VIOLENT LIKE HORSES

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously stark and stunning collection of prose poetry that is at once mysterious, raw, and evocative.  Selected by Victoria Chang (Pushcart Prize among many other accolades), as winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, John McCarthy’s SCARED VIOLENT LIKE HORSES is an examination of growing up–of masculinity–but there’s more. Buried beneath these complicated, yet tender words is a yearning. Maybe it’s to be seen, to be heard, for greater compassion. SCARED VIOLENT LIKE HORSES takes place in the Midwest–mostly Illinois–and this is something I completely ‘got.’ There’s a working-class grit, but also a sentimentality, a deep attention to detail, a nostalgia for simpler things. This work, I am guessing, is deeply personal about drunk fathers and unwell mothers, it’s about instability, and resilience, and isolation. And yet, it’s inspiring. I read SCARED VIOLET LIKE HORSES fairly quickly–a day or two–but it’s not meant to be rushed. I want to go back and savor the pages, fall into the folds of these glimmering metaphors, revel in the observations. This work deserves that. McCarthy’s tendency is storytelling–a narrative approach to …

What happens when you assemble a cast of boisterous, haphazard family members at a wedding? Maybe dysfunction. Leah Hager Cohen talks about this and more in STRANGERS AND COUSINS

By Leslie Lindsay  Sprawling multi-generational tale weaving contemporary views of love, marriage, family, birth, death, and secrets in a modern language, but with a timeless feel.   Leah Hager Cohen is the author of ten books, and has been recognized by People Magazine as a “masterful talent,” celebrated for her “keen insight,” (Bustle), and The New York Times says she is “eloquent…stunningly empathetic.” This is my first read from Leah Hager Cohen and STRANGERS AND COUSINS (Riverhead, May 14 2019) breathes magic into the simple, but not easy Erlend family. Cohen’s prose is glittering. There’s an elegance and timelessness to the way she strings words together, leaving me wholly enraptured.  Fans of Anne Tyler, Lorna Landvik, Elizabeth Berg, and Ann Packer will delight in this richly rendered tale. STRANGERS AND COUSINS is about a wedding. But that’s just a small microcosm of the layers and layers of uncomfortable truths in the Erlend family. There’s resistance to change (a new Jewish subgroup is moving into the community threatening a sense of cohesion); an elderly aunt with secrets of her own, a …

What if you felt trapped by your past–and needed permission to breathe? Jaclyn Gilbert tackles this & more in her debut fiction, LATE AIR

By Leslie Lindsay  In this piercing, lyrically compelling debut novel, Jaclyn Gilbert tackles marriage, loss, and finding one’s way home.  In the shadows of a predawn run, Murray tries to escape what he can’t control: His failed marriage. Grief. Even his own weakness. Murray is a college running coach insistent on his relentless training regimen and obsessed with his star athlete, until he finds her crumpled and unresponsive during a routine practice one morning. Unable to avoid or outrun reality, Murray is forced to face the consequences of his own increasingly tenuous grip on life—exacerbated by the dangers of his perfectionistic, singular focus as a former athlete and survivor of an unspeakable loss from his past. Weaving together the strands of two lives that form a union, Jaclyn pieces together  alternating narratives–Murray and his wife, Nancy, as we experience their early moments of hope and desire as well as their fears and failings. There’s time and trauma, grief, and ultimately healing. I asked Jaclyn a bit about her process, how she discovered the story and …