Eleanor Stanford: the Clarity of Memory

Excerpt from Superstition Review:

I needed clarity, and the only way I knew to seek clarity was to write.


Maybe it wasn’t clarity that I needed, though. Maybe it was simply to tell my story, dust-obscured, deep-throated wail that it was. What I’d wanted all along was to put the island where I’d lived for two years on a common map.

For the full, read here.


William Maxwell: The Landscape of Writing

Interview excerpt from the Paris Review:

Autobiography is simply the facts, but imagination is the landscape in which the facts take place, and the way that everything moves.


I just hang over the typewriter waiting to see what is going to happen. It begins with the very first sentence. I don’t will the sentence to come; I wait, as actively passive as I can possibly be. For some reason the phrase “Once upon a time” seems to be essential. Then, if I am sufficiently trusting, the rest of the story follows, and the last sentence is straight from the first.

For the full, read here.

Tanaya Winder: The Process of Honesty

Excerpt from Letters From A Young Poet:

We are so used to creating characters or writing scenarios, calling it like we see it, that this conditioned honesty can often come back to bite us.


I used to think that was perhaps the best writing and never believed my instructor’s when they spoke about the importance of psychic distance. Sure it made sense mentally and intellectually but emotionally it didn’t feel right. It is only now that it makes sense – the process of processing.

For the full, read here.

Sandra Cisneros: Finding Her Voice Through Anger

Excerpt from Makers:

But there was a moment when I got really angry, and I said: “I’ll show you. I’m going to write something you can’t say is wrong.”  And anger, I think, is great, if you don’t use it to shoot yourself in the head.  And I used it to write the book that I didn’t see in the library or in our classrooms, and that’s how House on Mango Street was born.

Watch the full here.

The Emotional Stakes of Mary Karr, Memoirist

Interview excerpted from The Paris Review:

The emotional stakes a memoirist bets with could not be higher, and it’s physically enervating. I nap on a daily basis like a cross-country trucker.


I wrote in a scattered, undisciplined way. But I read the way a junkie shoots dope. After college I got a poetry grant I’d applied for from the state of Minnesota. I used it to move to England, which was partly an attempt to cure my drinking. How ridiculous is that? I was drinking too much in Minneapolis, so I emigrate to one of the most alcohol-sodden islands on the planet. But it ended up being a cure for my ignorance about the history of literature.

For the full, read here.

Susan Steinberg on Experimental Writing

Excerpt from Publisher’s Weekly:

There are terms applied to experimental work that seem to cause less discomfort. “Lyric” is one. “Hybrid” is another. They’re more specific. They speak directly to a blurring of genres. They alleviate some of the mystery. But I think I prefer the term experimental. Because it relates to an act. It lets one consider experimental writing as a practice. Not as a genre.

Read the full here.