TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY of The Writing Life blog

Correction. Three things will keep me from going insane during this brief set back in ankle history, and the third thing arrived in the mail today (well, yesterday, but I didn’t check it until today):

A gold sequined MASK from my friend and fellow writer, Felicity Shoulders. She’d heard about my streak of bad luck and sent a little love my way via the good old USPS. And with a name that includes both happiness and body parts, you know she’s got to be one cool person. And a solid writer. As she would say, “my kingdom for” a name like that.

So I wear the mask. I write looking through the mask. I spin on my ball chair wearing the mask. I sing on the porch wearing the mask. I have my own little Mardi Gras in my head, wearing the mask. Did I say this would keep me from going insane? Maybe I meant it would bring me closer to the brink, but here I am and yes, still writing, still reading, still breathing, still alive.



1. “Do you know that you often have typos in your blog posts?”
Yes, I know this. This is the only place I can get away with the kind of first drafts where I don’t care what happens and there is total writerly freedom. Everything else I write is seen by someone else, from editors to professors, and I have to be meticulous about errors. This, here, is a daily exercise for the opposite muscles – a loosening of the reins, if you will. I’m not saying I endorse incorrect grammar or even sloppy work, but for my circumstances, this set up works fine. If I start fiddling with proofreading blog posts, before I know it I’ll be revising them, which is the exact opposite of what I want to be doing on these pages.

2. “Why don’t you use real names for places in your blog?”
A clever reader, especially one in this state, could probably figure out where I live and work. Fork Mountain, for example, is real – albeit unincorporated. Tinyville, Smallville, Small Town, and BigCity, NC are named as such again, because of the search engines. When I first began this blog two years ago today, anonymity was crucial to me. The Internet was a big, scary, unknown and so was blogging. Now I have more trust in the set up and care less about being noticed by any weirdos that may be out there. But the reason I talk about “the craft school” and “the old boarding school” is because if I use the real names, then the Google search engines (which search, among everything else, the word-for-word content of blog posts) will find these names when people are looking for information about these places. Seems best to play it safe and represent myself on these pages, and not risk misrepresenting the places I’ve worked for. The same goes for the faculty with whom I’ve studied with in the MFA program. I simply will not reveal their names on these pages and that’s that. Also, for what it’s worth, most names are changed in this blog – except for family or friends who I mention in passing in only good, praiseworthy ways where nothing is at stake.

3. “Don’t you find it a little egotistical to do an interview with yourself?”
Yes, I do. And it’s a little embarrassing, as well. But you can’t write nonfiction and worry about being embarrassed. Writing means exposing all the elements of your less-than-perfect self to the world, and that includes everything from the audacious tentacles of ego to the frail fritters of faith when it’s at a low point. I try my best to make these pages human, and that includes spanning the breadth of human emotion.


  • Felicity

    I sincerely hope my package o’ whimsy does not make you any crazier than you want to be.


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