Elizabeth Barrett

I love long, lyrical descriptions in books and stories. Not necessarily Henry James, but I enjoy exact and detailed descriptions of people and places. Some readers do not. They are happy with the bare bones so they can rush on with the story. Writers vary too, some preferring to tell a reader precisely what a …

More Than Simple Details Read More »

Writers have a story—or even stories—in them that are intensely personal, stories that they have to tell. Often they experienced something painful or life altering or tragic, and it sits in their gut like a river clogged with mud and weeds and dead fish. Their creativity is stopped up by this foul water—what I call …

The Big Muddy Read More »

The September 2012 issue of Shambhala Sun contains an intriguing article by Andrea Miller entitled “Pure Fiction.” Miller talks with three novelists, two of whom practice Zen or Buddhism. The third, although not a Buddhist, has been influenced by Buddhism. All three writers, and Miller, make interesting connections between Buddhism or Zen and fiction, but …

What the Lion Did Read More »

Along with the two writing classes I teach, for the past two summers I have led a four-day writers workshop at Twin Farms in Wakefield, NH. I have never had a poet in any of my classes, but two poets have attended Twin Farms both of these past two years. One of those poets, Anne, …

Poetry Read More »

Finding good books to read when you’re an editor is difficult. You read with a pencil mentally in hand, fixing and rewriting as you read, and wondering was it the author or the editor who made that egregious error. After thirty years in the publishing business, though, I’ve learned how to give my mental editor …

Cluttered Nightstand Read More »

Lost Mothers
 is now for sale. You can click on a link to buy it either on my website’s Home page or the Buy the Books page. Or you can go straight to Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

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 Designed by Jim Barrett – Photograph by Evan E. Richards

I often begin my fall classes with a lesson called Beginnings. I choose opening sentences from several works of fiction and nonfiction, and then discuss with the students what we can glean about the books from those first sentences. For example, from the opening of Anne Enright’s The Gathering—“I would like to write down what …

Beginnings Read More »

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