A Writing Retreat in The Green Study

The Green Study will return on April 1, 2018. I’ve made some progress over the last couple of months on both my novel and some essay writing, and I’ve reached that point where I need to do a final push to meet internal and external deadlines. I’ll leave you with some thoughts before I head into Michelle’s Writing Month (MeWriMo). On Vulnerability and Writing When I wrote about book reviews earlier this month, I began to think about the nature of being a writer in today’s world. If I’m deep into writing,… Read More

A Writer Walks into a Book Club…

I fumed well into the night after attending an open book club at my local library. At first, I was hopeful. There were discussion worksheets with great analytical questions about the book laid out on the tables. Except they didn’t use the worksheet. Many people hadn’t even finished reading the book. After an hour of people sharing personal anecdotes about trips to Italy and saying inane things like the book should have been shorter with no supporting reasons, I quietly closed my notebook. A notebook with ten pages of earnest notes about the… Read More

Book Reviews: Acts of Generosity or Ego?

I recently rejoined Goodreads after a long absence and am pondering whether or not to write book reviews. I haven’t done so in the past, as a rule, for a number of reasons. The first reason is that I have a lot of writer friends, many of whom have written books. Some of those books get an ‘A’ for effort, but not for execution. Sometimes they ask for reviews. I want to keep my integrity. And my friends. Another reason for not writing reviews is that I feel squeamish as a writer… Read More

Rays of Light on a Dismal January Day

It’s a gray day here at The Green Study and on such a day, in the middle of a Minnesota winter, one has to scrabble a bit to lift spirits. I’m going to share with you a few things that are lifting mine. Fellow Bloggers Sometimes you are really, really funny. Thank you. Here’s a few posts that have given the gift of a good laugh: “31 brand new animal species discovered by amateur naturalists” by Guy Bergstrom at the Red Pen of Doom “If my nose is running, my thoughts are… Read More

An Unfiltered Crank in the Study

I’m struggling with everything right now and when I’m struggling, I can get a little grumpy. I’m still working the microresolutions from the last couple of months, putting in time every day on the novel, and trying to make better choices despite the winter discontent creeping in. But occasionally, I need to poke a few vent holes and let the steam escape. ***** When I hear people be passionate about whatever they’re passionate about, I wonder what is wrong with me. Why don’t I have fiery rhetoric? Why is everything I say… Read More

Mammas, Don’t Let Your Novel Writers Grow Up to Be Bloggers

I just finished reading a collection of essays by a much-loved and well-respected novelist. And it just made me sigh. All writing is not equal. It’s a new thing, taking a disparate group of blog posts, slapping them together, and calling it a book. Rarely has this been done well. The struggling writer could only wish for a day when they are so honored and revered as a writer, as a name, that someone would be happy to compile their scraps of writing, make a pretty book cover, and sell them to… Read More

Riffing on Mushrooms

I’ve never been someone at a loss for things to write about, but sometimes I wonder at my ability to overthink things. That’s a lie. I don’t believe there is such a thing as overthinking – at least not in a climate where people are egged on to abandon their own thoughts in favor of memes and outrage. This morning I was reading a collection of essays by Ursula K. Le Guin called No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters. It made me think about details. One of the essays was called… Read More

Getting Mocked by Alfred Adler

Over five years of blogging, and at least 50% of it has been whinging on about writing – doing it, not doing it, determined to do it, failing to do it. I’ve pitched to agents at a conference and not followed through.  I’ve been given the time, opportunity, and space to do it. I’ve set and promptly passed deadlines. I’ve made note cards, scribbled on white boards, discussed it ad nauseam with friends. I have skeletal novels and unfinished stories and poetry done badly. I have made myself feel physically ill, have… Read More

Empty Noise is the Gravedigger

I’ve been living a summer in quiet desperation. Fall is creeping in around the mornings. I smell it in the air and see the frantic scurry of squirrels hiding their winter stores of food. Usually, it brings with it a sweet melancholy that makes me more creative and introspective. This year seems different. I turn 50 shortly and it’s clouded my mind in all the expected ways. Ways that seem like stages of grief. I’m in the bargaining/rationalization phase. Initially, I mourned that there was less ahead of me than behind me…. Read More

Committing to the Mistake and Writing in the Age of That Guy

The hunger divide between writing meaningful stories and writing what I am capable of feels like a gaping maw now. A novel draft I wrote in 2012 seems limp and unedifying. Great novels come out of periods of strife and war and social upheaval. My little domestic drama on paper seems out of step. I lay in bed last night rewriting my entire novel. It had power and endurance and spoke to the demographics and polarity in our nation – the great canyon between urban and rural, educated and uneducated. It could… Read More