Airstream Dispatches Reads Bonnie Jo Campbell

Bonnie Jo Campbell

Photo Credit John Campbell

Airstream Dispatches (now registering!) is an innovative, low-pressure, online community for writers. We’ll study 6 books, gather for 6 webinars, & write through 6 prompts–all over the course of 6 months, with email access for one-on-one follow-up with me. I believe that gentle accountability can be formed online, and this offering is proof positive! As I prepare for this fall’s launch, I’ve carefully selected the authors and books we’ll be studying. Although I’ve read Bonnie Jo Campbell much-acclaimed novel, Once Upon a River, twice, I wanted to focus on her short stories in Mothers, Tell Your Daughters because I’m enamored with the way this author can imply depth of character in short form prose.

Have you ever written pages and pages that feel (at least, at the time) like your “best” writing…then come to find out it’s all backstory about a character, with little to no plot?

That writing isn’t “wasted” and in Airstream Dispatches we’ll talk about why. We’ll also ask Bonnie Jo about what a character’s backstory can teach us about how they should behave on the page, in “real time.” Last but not least, we’ll discuss “three things every writer should know” about his or her main characters.

Bonnie Jo was on the faculty of the Pacific University MFA in Writing program when I was a student. I’ll never forget her kindness and accessibility–as well as her whip-smart craft know-how, all with no ego. Just fun! She’s a relentless, terribly accurate fiction writer and this collection of stories is not to be missed. Consider buying it from Kazoo Books, in Kalamazoo, MI–Bonnie’s hometown.

I believe that writing is a solo sport, but that at the end of the day, no one does it alone. I believe that we write to be seen, or to be understood–and whether that means we feel complete when we self-publish our memoirs or when we sign that first book contract–what matters most is that we know we have done the best writing we could possibly do, given our resources.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.