I have one firmly defined and achievable resolution, and I have one that is maybe not a resolution after all, but some vague hope. But I’m making a connection between that resolution and that hope, because I’m making a connection between that resolution and everything in my life. My resolution: To be able to have …

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This past year I read good books and experienced good things. Here are a few of each of them matched up in a semi-random, teeny bit calculated way, introduced by a few lines from the featured book. From “1989” in How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, a deeply perceptive and intelligent collection of essays by …

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When I was pregnant with my first daughter Natalie in 1986, the Chernobyl reactor exploded and the threat of a nuclear cloud passing over the Pacific Northwest and radiating the six-month old fetus inside me freaked me out. Later, when I was pregnant with Ana in 1989, tanks rolled over Tiananmen Square, scattering protestors, killing …

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I didn’t do any writing on our recent three-week vacation in Spain. I’d brought some work with me – notes on the novel I’m trying to finish, and ideas for a final story to add to a collection I’d previously considered ready to submit. Never touched any of it. Too busy sightseeing, eating (paella, bocadillos …

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Every month is literary for readers and writers, but it seemed like April has been especially full of events for me, both as participant and audience. Here’s a brief rundown: AWP I’m going to cheat and start with AWP, which was at the end of March, so practically April, right? I went to a lot …

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We, the once geeky and near-friendless high school students, who observed but never took part in cool happenings, who skirted the outermost margins of the outermost social groups, who always wore the wrong clothes and said the wrong thing – we grew into regular people. And some of us became writers who could avenge the …

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Writers write because they have an affinity, even a compulsion, for words. We love and are driven to make sentences that grow into stories that touch the reader in some way. It’s how we communicate. And even though making sentences might require much hair-pulling and brow-furrowing, we trust that the words, sentences, and clarity of …

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A week after my official retirement date of January 1, I emailed my former colleagues at work. I had been scrupulous about tying up loose ends on my projects before departing in late December, but there was one thing I thought had yet to be resolved for a particular project. My email sparked a string …

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