Overview

A beloved writer's thoughts on teaching her craft and leading a literary life

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The Writing Life

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Overview

A beloved writer's thoughts on teaching her craft and leading a literary life

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this collection of wry and poised autobiographical essays, most previously unpublished, National Book Award winner Gilchrist (Victory over Japan, etc.) is disarmingly direct in evoking herself as a trapped young wife and mother who returned to college, studied under Eudora Welty and became involved in the New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., during the civil rights era, a turning point in her eventual "escape from the bourgeoisie." She writes frankly and without self-loathing about overcoming alcoholism, and reflects on the powerful influence of her disciplined, sporty father, drawing analogies between tennis and writing, coaching and teaching. She tells of writing her first published book of stories, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, in three months and of how its publication coincided with the birth of her first grandchild. Affording insights into her writing process, including the necessary evil of letting down friends and family in order to put writing first, Gilchrist's droll, optimistic and seasoned voice is irresistible. A final series of pithy essays focuses on her adaptation to academia late in life; she enthralls with witty, tender observations of her writing students' progress. Gilchrist's love of life, her tireless work ethic and her self-assured sense of fun and folly shine in this vital and inspiring collection. Agent, Susan Ramer of Don Congdon and Assoc. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604739114
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 3/5/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 211
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ellen Gilchrist, Fayetteville, Arkansas, is the author of many novels and collections of essays, short stories, and novellas, including The Cabal and Other Stories, Flights of Angels, The Age of Miracles, The Courts of Love, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, Victory Over Japan (winner of the National Book Award), Drunk with Love, Ellen Gilchrist: Collected Stories, and I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy.

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Table of Contents

The middle way 3
The Shakespeare group 13
How books still change our lives 18
Casting my lot with the gypsies 24
The consolations of art 36
The only constant is change, and yet, I still won't use a computer 39
How I got stronger and smarter instead of stupider and sadder 43
How I wrote a book of short stories in three months 53
Living in New York City 58
The sinking ship 65
Breaking the rules 69
In the weather of the heart 72
A writer should be able to write anything 75
Everyone wants to be a writer 78
"You always use setbacks to help you play better" 80
Write what you know 84
Choosing the books 89
Learning to teach writing by watching a great dance teacher 92
Crisis in the creative writing program 96
Everyone thinks they are a writer 99
Why is rewriting so hard? 102
Sunday morning 105
Eudora Welty 110
Another hard thing for a writer to learn to handle 113
How I invented Traceleen 119
How to move characters from one place to another 122
How to become inspired 126
Decons 130
Learning to teach 133
The war with the squirrels 135
What they write about 138
Teaching, a journal 145
Teaching, a journal (continued) 147
My third year 152
Worrying 155
Students 162
The ice storm 164
Creative nonfiction (as fiction) 167
The semester from hell 171
Drunks, dope addicts, and losers, characters my students give me 173
How can I help these students learn to write? 178
Onward 180
Hitting a snag in the teaching game 183
Rip Van Winkle and the unwanted wings 186
Teaching, a journal (continued) 190
After six weeks of classes 195
The geology field trip 200
Monday at dawn 204
The big question 205
The tar baby 208
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