Meet Kathleen: She Earned a Solid B+ in College Poetry Writing

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

When I was in elementary school, my family used to load up our Dodge Ram each summer and head west. Seatbelts, while included in the price of vehicles back in the 1980s, were more of a suggestion. My brother and I spent hours sprawled all over that van–on the floors, across the luxurious third row, and sometimes in the “way back,” wedged up next to the camping equipment. My parents…

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How to Find Inspiration Anywhere (& a new short story!)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

This week, Barrelhouse featured my short story “Urban Legend” in their seasonal issue. I’ve pasted the first paragraph below: It was the week of her performance review, and Adrienne was ready for a promotion. That Monday morning, at the 12th Street Gym, all the lockers in use were fastened with locks. When she joined months ago, they told her she could buy one at any hardware store, but Adrienne had…

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Interview & Giveaway with Stephanie Elliot, Author of SAD PERFECT

This week, we’re speaking with Stephanie Elliot, the author of young adult novel SAD PERFECT (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). SAD PERFECT tells the story of sixteen year old Pea, who struggles with a little known eating disorder known as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). The novel was in part inspired by Elliot’s daughter’s real-life experience with the disorder. Called “a well-written page-turner whose sensitive topic is covered with finesse and grace”…

Saturday, December 8, 2018
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Thinking of writing a book? Here’s what you need

Before I decided to write my first novel, I never thought average people from average places doing average things could write a WHOLE BOOK. I thought that was reserved for–oh, I don’t know–people who were smarter, more interesting, older, wealthier, less female, more educated, whiter… the list goes on. So despite always writing, I spent a lot of time not sharing my work, even in my college years, because I…

Thursday, November 29, 2018
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On Día De Los Muertos, thousands of people commit to writing a novel

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Today is November 1st, which makes it a special day for several reasons. When I was in college in California, today was the day that the Chicano Latino Student Union dressed the courtyard outside the dining hall in paper marigolds and burning candles, sugar skulls and sugary bread for Día de los Muertos. On a plastic table draped in dark tablecloth are framed photographs of people I don’t know. On…

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Do your edits like a grown-up would

Thursday, October 25, 2018

This week, we’re supposed to be writing about how to survive an edit letter — which refers to the list of revisions that your editor wants you to make after acquiring your book. I guess it’s hard to make big changes to your manuscript after you’ve sold it, but you should never really be that attached to your story anyway. You should always be open to making it better. I’ve…

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On the Poetry of Isaac Brock

Thursday, October 18, 2018

For this week’s post on literary influences, I’m republishing an essay I wrote about the intersection between song lyrics and poetry and how an unlikely rock band influenced a younger version of myself to think and read differently. The essay, On the Poetry of Isaac Brock, originally ran on Vol. 1 Brooklyn. When I was a freshman in high school, I had one of those rare things that stay with…

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Ivelisse Rodriguez on Latinx literature & writing new models of love + GIVEAWAY of LOVE WAR STORIES

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Please welcome Ivelisse Rodriguez to the Ball this week! Ivelisse’s debut short story collection, Love War Stories, came out this July to much acclaim, and was named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by Cosmopolitan, The Root, and Bitch Media. Bustle called it an “exceptional debut” and as soon as I read the description of the book (and saw it was published by Feminist Press, one of my favorite small presses!),…

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On Drafting

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I get easily excited about ideas. If you sit me in front of a computer long enough, I will inevitably start writing. Drafting is the fun part. Drafting should be the stream of consciousness part, the unfiltered part, the part that is done out of joy. In drafting, there is no judgment, only indulgence. One is able to describe a house or a room or even a bowl of soup…

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Three Steps to Make Failure Suck Less

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The first time I ever felt crushed by rejection was in high school. I was somehow nominated for a months-long mentorship with an established poet, and as part of the decision process, I was invited to Scholastic HQ in downtown Manhattan to meet the other poets in the running. When I was called to read my poem in front of the group, I flailed my hands in passion, the plastic…

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