Accomplishment-Mania & What It Means to Be a “Real” Writer
Artist's Inspiration

Accomplishment-Mania & What It Means to Be a “Real” Writer

Nothing is more toxic to the soul than comparison.   Glancing at the biographies of established writers, I feel myself infected with that familiar poison: by the time she was my age, Jodi Picoult was already married with children, had published several books, worked as a creative writing instructor at a private academy and English teacher … Continue reading

Writing as Seduction
Artist's Inspiration

Writing as Seduction

French-Russian novelist Francine Du Plessix Gray always begins her writing classes by asking students to compare the following sentences, the first from Nabokov’s memoir of his youth in pre-Revolutionary Russia, Speak Memory, the second from Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. “She turned on the steps to look back at me before descending into a jasmine-scented, … Continue reading

Productive Idleness: Why Play is More Important than Discipline to Creativity
Artist's Inspiration

Productive Idleness: Why Play is More Important than Discipline to Creativity

“‘It must take so much discipline to be an artist,’ we are often told by well-meaning people who are not artists but wish they were. What a temptation. What a seduction. They’re inviting us to preen before an admiring audience, to act out the image that is so heroic and Spartan-and false. As artists, grounding … Continue reading