Posts Tagged ‘authors’

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MFA or not?

April 13, 2015

Today I tried my best to study as a writer: I read a book about sentence construction, pulled out my highlighter, and did my best to discover the secrets of a sentence. Then, I fell asleep.

There are times when I lament the fact that I grew up in a world where MFA’s did not exist. If they did, I certainly was unaware, clueless about the world of fine arts. It wasn’t until after I’d worked in Boston, then founded my own business, and finally wrote my own companion piece that I realized people go to school to learn how to write. By that time, I had three kids under the age of five and going back to school was not an option. So, I read. I read and I read and I read. Then I went to a workshop and then another. I began to study blogs and authors’ websites. I went to more workshops. I began to edit and critique and finally, to teach.

The book on sentence structure wasn’t necessarily boring, but for me, I realized the best way to learn and improve my own writing was by reading other books within my genre. I studied books that I loved and even those I didn’t. I rewrote authors’ sentences, plagiarizing their rhythm, not to copy into my own work but to learn. And I did.

Not everyone needs an MFA. As the cliché goes—we all have our own path, a journey to follow. As a non-MFA graduate, I know that I’ll always be studying the craft of writing, forever a student. And, I’m okay with that. It’s a fabulous way to grow.

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Books with Impact

March 1, 2015

About six months ago, I was nominated to list 10 books that impacted my life. Unlike the ice bucket challenge, this was one task I could handle. Although narrowing it down proved difficult, I managed to create a list of great reads that, after reading them, left me ready to step into action and/or personally changed my beliefs in some way.

In no particular order, here’s my list; six months late.

The Year of Magical Thinking: Joan Didion
Zeitoun: Dave Eggers
Phenomonal Woman: Maya Angelou
Stolen Lives: Malika Oufkir
Olive Kitteridge: Elizabeth Strout
Speak: Laurie Halse Anderson
Two Boys Kissing: David Leviathan
A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens
Awakening: Cate Chopin
The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings: Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

I nominate YOU to share your list here!