Dorothy Parker and the Vicious First Draft

    It is one of the minor tragedies of my life, perhaps a major tragedy in my writing life, that no one ever told me first drafts are supposed to suck until I was thirty-eight years old. Yup. Thirty-eight. Now, this is most likely because I never really knew any writers, and I rarely took any actual writing classes. While most writers would probably agree that having an MFA,…

Friday, October 12, 2018
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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Ode to the First Draft

I really want to write a rant to all the devastations of the day: the Kavanaugh vote in the Senate, the FBI’s incomplete investigation, the senator from Maine’s weak speech justifying her vote against women, the Senate’s dismissal and nullification of Dr. Ford’s courage. But I have to write for the Debs, it’s that time of the week where the Debs must cull their thoughts for the topic at hand….

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
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The Myth of Having Thick Skin

Friday, October 5, 2018

    A couple of weeks ago, when we were all writing about our path to publication, the subject of rejection and failure had to come up. I shared the fact that I’d sent out one hundred and nine queries before landing an agent, so if you think about it, that’s one hundred and eight rejections. I had failed that many times.  But I don’t think I really wrote a…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Chronicles of an X-American (part 1)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

  Chronicles of an X-American (part 1) The best training is to read and write, no matter what — Grace Paley I’ve always been a poet, and it’s always some tributary of poetry that I return to when I have my teeth, metaphorically, kicked in. I started writing poems, mostly nature poems, when I turned nine. I was fast with my first drafts and slow to revise. Only my fifth-grade…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: An Abridged Autobiography, in Books & Comics & Such…

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

This week’s theme: “balancing writing and work and life” has led me to write: an abridged autobiography, in books and comics and such   Don’t remember much before 1970, when I was about four. I watched The Bugaloos, the bug rock-n-roll band who lived in the forest and had to outwit an evil witch. I loved them so much I got the official Bugaloos lunch box and matching thermos, to take…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: A Circuitous Route

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Circuitous Route:   The reflection of the world is blues, that’s where that part of the music is at  – Jimi Hendrix I have no way to express how stunned I am, sitting here today, holding my newly hatched ARCs. It is surreal to see this book in galley form, it is surreal to see my family hold my debut novel in their hands. By all accounts I should…

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The Book Within A Book

Friday, September 14, 2018

      I’m not sure how old I was the first time I tried to read Anne of Green Gables, but I must have been too young. I was vain as a reader, always showing off by trying to read far above my age level, reading classics with a view to bragging about having read them. I didn’t get very far with that first attempt. Anne has a long…

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Carlos Santana Got Me To Write A Novel, Basically

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I remember listening to Santana’s “Maria, Maria”, and wondering what the hell kind of Latina I was for not being more like HER. In college in Southern California, I even used to think: she’s not far from me now. She’s out there, falling in love in East LA, and here I am, earning a college degree and making passes at men outside my family’s income bracket.  That gap between me and…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: The Twice-Born Book

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Twice-Born Book:   I wrote my first book because I wanted to read it – Toni Morrison I’m a voracious reader. I admit it. I started young – one of my favorite books came in to my possession when I turned nine. A friend of the family gave me Anthony B. Lake’s A Pleasury of Witticisms and Word Play. Inside those pages I learned all about anagrams and palindromes,…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Origin Story

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Origin Story:  I am the sum of so many things and it is at once easy and difficult to place labels on myself. I’ll begin in the most obvious ways: I’m a daughter to an academic; my dad is a mathematician and was immersed in the world of biostatistics and multi-variant statistical analysis for more than a half-century before retiring this year. I saw how much he loves math —…

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