Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

by Robin Black
Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

by Robin Black

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Robin Black's path through loss and survival delivered her to the writer's life. Agoraphobia, the challenges of parenting a child with special needs, and the legacy of a formidable father all shaped that journey. In these deeply personal and instructive essays, the author of the internationally acclaimed If I loved you, I would tell you this and Life Drawing explores the making of art through the experiences of building a life. Engaging, challenging, and moving, Crash Course is full of insight into how to write--and why.

From "Autumn, 1972, A Moment at Which I Became a Writer":

I sense, even now, the reverberations of a kind of shattering of my foundation and a quick rebuild, a change at a molecular level of who I understood myself to be. No longer someone who could look at another person without wondering what their life was like, but someone with a new curiosity about what people's stories might actually be.

Robin Black is the author of the story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this and the novel Life Drawing, both critically acclaimed, and both published in multiple languages. She has developed a loyal, enthusiastic following for her essays on life and writing, online and in such publications as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and O Magazine. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the house is always open for their three grown children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938126710
Publisher: Engine Books
Publication date: 04/12/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robin Black's story collection If I loved you, I would tell you this, was published by Random House in 2010 to international acclaim, and was followed by her debut novel, Life Drawing in 2014. Robin's stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The New York Times Magazine, One Story, The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Freight Stories, Indiana Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I (Norton, 2007). She is the recipient of grants from the Leeway Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Sirenland Conference and is also the winner of the 2005 Pirate's Alley Faulkner-Wisdom Writing Competition in the short story category. Her work has been noticed four times for Special Mention by the Pushcart Prizes and also deemed Notable in The Best American Essays, 2008, The Best Nonrequired Reading, 2009 and Best American Short Stories, 2010. She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Table of Contents

I Life (& Writing)

Something We Share, Something We Don't 13

The Dark Ages: Before I Wrote 19

My Default Man 25

Agoraphobia, Writing, and Me: Fear and Laughing at Canyon Ranch 29

Father Chronicles: Embracing Cordelia 35

House Lessons I: Aspirational Storytelling 41

Autumn, 1972 45

AD(H)D I 49

A Life of Profound Uncertainty 55

On Not Reading 59

Rejection, Summer Conference Style 63

The Dreaded Desk Drawer Novel 67

My Parent Trap 73

AD(H)D II: August 8,2011 79

The Art of Ripping Stitches 83

On Learning to Spell Women's Names While Men Buy My Novel for Their Wives 85

In Which My Mother Suggests That I Murder Her, As a Marketing Ploy 91

Shut Up, Shut Down 95

Material 99

Father Chronicles: To the Extent That He Was Able 103

Varieties of Fiction 107

II Writing (& Life)

Twenty-One Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started to Write 111

The Collaborative Reader 117

The Final Draft: What's Love Got to Do With It? 121

How (Not?) to Query 125

Line Edits I 131

Living in the Present 133

If Only! The Imaginative Wealth of What Didn't Take Place 137

No Fool Like a Bold Fool 141

Give It Up 147

House Lessons II: To Renovate, to Revise 151

Revising Reality 155

The Success Gap 159

The Literary Birds & Bees: How One Novel Was Conceived 163

In Defense of Adverbs, Guardians of the Human Condition 167

Line Edits II 171

The Subject is Subjectivity 173

Tales of Sorrow, Tales of Woe 177

House Lessons III: Showing Not Telling 181

Giotto's Perfect Circle 185

Line Edits III 191

Father Chronicles: The Persistence of Demons 193

Empty Now 197

Acknowledgments 201

About the Author 203

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