Editor’s Letter, April 2015
Writing Prompt: Words That Stick
Op-Ed: The Feeding Frenzy
We’re Hiring a Creative Nonfiction Editor!
I might have a little touch of the fever. It’s not just the puppies. Inside Starbucks, there’s a three-month-old baby gurgling inside her car seat while her mother waits in line. I squat down to say hi and melt just a little when I get her to smile at me. I want another baby.
Home. That small, one-syllable word carries a huge amount of weight. How much of what we call home has to do with location, and how much is about the people we find there? Dan, Ethan, and I managed to become a family despite the distance between us, but surely we missed out on something significant by not having each other every day, in person, under a shared roof.
In last month’s “Birthing the Mother Writer” class, we were introduced to dialogue in fiction as a way of keeping the plot and narrative “rolling,” while also revealing the hidden “roles” of the characters in the story. This month’s column includes a story that shows such an adept use of dialogue, as well as Cassie’s Five Tips for Creating Effective Dialogue, paired with her commentary on the story.
I turn the card over and scan the list of tasks my kindergartener is supposed to have mastered: Prints Letters and Words: E—Experiencing Difficulty. Uses pencil/crayons properly: E. This does not come as a surprise.
In her dreams, she’s a teenager again. She has not lived 92 years; she’s young. There’s a reckless feeling—riding in the backseat of a car with the windows open.
If you appreciate the simple details of the present moment, you will enjoy this month’s theme, for no one celebrates the joys or observes the flashes of the here and now better than a child.
I didn’t know that choosing to make art is one of the hidden definitions of helping people. It’s not just that art can comfort the weary, heal the sick, and change the political face of the world. But it’s also the artists themselves, showing up for the joy and terror of the creative process. The courage to be oneself, and to carry on doing one’s true work, helps people every day.
You were my midwife as you lambed that first Spring.
I told them I liked/ the fullness of it and that love/ is always asymmetrical.
Nayomi Munaweera’s debut novel follows three generations of Sinhalese and Tamil families—the two opposing groups in the civil war that raged in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009—and examines the fates of families who stayed in Sri Lanka as well as those who left during the war. It was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, went on to win the Commonwealth Book Prize for Asia, 2013.
For years, until I found it too painful to keep in my line of sight, I displayed a photograph of my two sons on our first day as a family. In it, they are seated at my dining room table, …
While kitchens and ingredients have shifted throughout America’s history, our fundamental relationship with food and food writing remain surprisingly unchanged. We are concerned, to varying degrees, with taste, economy, health, and conviviality. And when in need of inspiration, we turn to words: annotated recipes, chatty cookbooks, foodie memoirs, and illuminating essays.