a cough, a festival, and a few words about stories

By Kate / May 15, 2009 /

I mentioned in my mother’s day post that Zoë was sick and that—after being on the receiving end of her croupy cough—I was getting sick, as well. Well I did get sick—head-exploding, coughing-until-I-puked sick. I had to take Zoë into the ER early Monday morning because she was barking like a seal, poor dear, and…

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the personal, the political

By Kate / April 3, 2009 /

There is something that’s been bubbling under the surface these last few weeks, something born from a combination of anger and fear and hope. I’ve been reading Shari MacDonald Strong’s The Maternal is Political and Caroline Grant’s and Elrena Evan’s Mama, PhD. How amazing to read these books side by side. There is power there,…

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still reading

By Kate / January 26, 2009 /

I haven’t posted about what I’m reading in a while and this is probably because I’m all over the place, reading three books at once. I prefer to read one book at a time, submerging myself completely in one voice, one plot, etc. But this kind of reading doesn’t fit into my life right now.…

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what we can count on

By Kate / November 26, 2008 /

I’m embarrassed to say that I had never read anything by Ellen Bass until last week, when one of my lovely students (thank you, Ann!) e-mailed me this poem after it had been featured on Writer’s Almanac. (I’m reprinting it here with the author’s permission.) After Our Daughter’s Wedding While the remnants of cake and…

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reading again

By Kate / April 14, 2008 /

D will be home tonight. He’s been gone for ten days with his new job. I doubt the timing, with Zoe just four weeks old when he left, could have been any worse, but there was nothing we could do about it, so he went. Stella missed him a ton. Yesterday morning, she was watching…

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who rocks the dialogue?

By Kate / December 7, 2007 /

This week, one of my students wanted to talk more about dialogue because she was having trouble writing realistic, moving dialogue in her nonfiction. It’s a common problem, I think, for beginning writers because their instinct is to write dialogue in a vacuum: he said, she said, he said, etc. I want my students to…

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struggling with structure

By Kate / November 28, 2007 /

No luck on Thanksgiving not gorging myself. In fact, I ate excessively all weekend. And now I have a horrible cold. (Not that these two things are related. I only wanted to point out that I’ve been uncomfortable—in slightly different ways—for many days now. With Sudafed off limits I’d actually go so far to say…

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writers revealed

By Kate / August 6, 2007 /

Last night I participated in writers revealed debut virtual book club, which was so much fun. There were about eight of us, and we all read Meredith Hall’s wonderful memoir, Without a Map, and then we called into the show for a Q&A with the author. Hall became pregnant at sixteen, was completely shunned by…

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heartbreak and hoping

By Kate / July 25, 2007 /

Oh why did I do this to myself? Why? For class tomorrow, I’m having my students read Susan Ito’s “Samuel” and Suzanne Kamata’s “You’re So Lucky.” I chose these pieces to spark discussion about point of view, emotional distance, and writing about heartbreak. But I’m not going to talk about how talented I think both…

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where voice resides: the allergy diaries

By Kate / June 22, 2007 /

There are a few essays so well-written that I could use them to teach each element of craft. Jill Christman’s “The Allergy Diaries” is one of these essays. “The Allergy Diaries” describes Christman’s infant daughter’s anaphylactic reaction to cow’s milk and the aftermath of this discovery. That is the situation in the essay. The real…

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