susanstinson: (Default)
Here is a really good story by my friend, Sally Bellerose:
Potatoes, Sex and Security in The November 3 Club.

When we took our first writing break at her house today, I sat down on her couch, and there on the coffee table, was the Style Section from this Sunday's New York Times, complete with a great picture of Deb, Anne and Glenn! They are also beautifully quoted in the article about the new Brooklyn Flea Market, where Deb is selling vintage clothes size 14 and up as she gets her new store Re/Dress up and running.

Sally let me take the picture home for my bulletin board.
susanstinson: (Default)
I don't read much fiction when I'm deep in writing. It's strange. I'm not sure why, except that it feels as if other stories get into the story I'm trying to make and shape it in unpredictable ways that feel uncomfortable, maybe too intimate or too external or a little like stealing. Sometimes I break down and read whole novels in big, thirsty gulps, but those are moments when I'm not writing. Larry McMurtry has written about the tension, in a writer whose whole life is shaped by love of books, between the need and desire to write and the need and desire to read and to keep reading. (As I write that, I feel it, and I also get another rush of images -- stretched out in the sun in the itchy grass, the cold in the hall between the locker room and the pool, the slowest way to untuck a sheet so a sleeper is not disturbed, the magnificence of the physical world unshrouded with language. Yeah, all that, too.)

spoilers for My Name is Red )
susanstinson: (Default)
I'm writing about this. If you'd like to answer, I'm interested:

Why do fat girls need fiction?

Why does anybody?

If you read fiction, how do you do that?

Where, when, how did you start?


Feb. 4th, 2006 08:00 am
susanstinson: (Default)
The light can hold. Desires recover and return. It comes back.


Jan. 12th, 2005 08:52 am
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I am interested in what prompts and makes possible the process of entering what one is estranged from -- and in what hinders the foray, for the purposes of fiction, into the corners of the consciousness held off and away from the reach of the writer's imagination.

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Going Down

Jun. 15th, 2004 09:28 am
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Flannery O'Connor said that writing a novel was a plunge into reality.

Why is plunging into reality a good idea? I think it is. But why?


Mar. 20th, 2004 05:02 pm
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Ghost stories -- ones that are well written -- can focus the attention in an intense vivid way on questions about death, memory, morality, history, and tensions between inner and outer life. I love that.

And, as long as I can stand it and if I trust the writer, there's a pleasure to being teased and scared that way.

I haven't yet read Affinity by Sarah Waters, but I'm looking forward to it. Anybody else like ghost stories? Or want to tell one?


Sep. 9th, 2003 08:30 pm
susanstinson: (Default)
I'm used to a process of exploration and vulnerabilty in writing, used to exploring delicate or tenaciously difficult things and sooner or later offering them publicly -- outloud, in an outfit, in front of people, or as a book, or part of a book, bound and finite, physically far from me. And, of course, I learned to type on a manual typewriter and still pull out spiral notebooks where the paper tears with ragged edges when I meet people to write in cafes. (Not that I do that a lot, but it's happened.) But starting this journal feels mysterious to me. I'm not sure about what distance to take with the things I write and the things I read in other people's journals.

I'm interested in writing about the process of publishing my next novel, which is coming out in May, because that makes its own story, and I love the worlds of books, as strange they sometimes become. I'm a poet and a novelist who has been thinking about essays lately, and doing more nonfiction than I ever have, so this seems like both a place to explore that more, without having to worry about anybody else's guidelines or expectations -- well, except, of course, I'm already worrying about it, as I try to figure out what the rules of discourse are around here -- or something like that.

And I'm interested in conversations about fat that open up in stunning, shocking, thrilling ways. In addition to all of the concrete spatial, sensual and political things fat is in my life and in the life of this culture, in my head, fat is a metaphor for sex and death and wildness in a way that makes me leap up and get out Flannery O'Connor when I try to write about it.

One thing Flannery said in her book of essays on writing, Mystery and Manners, was, "The Manicheans separated spirit and matter. To them all material things were evil. They sought pure spirit and tried to approach the infinite without any mediation of matter. This is also pretty much the modern spirit, and for the sensibility infected with it, fiction is hard if not impossible to write because fiction is so very much an incarnational art."

Incarnational means to put it in bodily form, to let feelings and the deepest mysteries expressed in ordinary human flesh, or in fiction, in descriptions of dirt or a can of soda or a hunchback leaning over the bell tower of a cathedral to spit on a crowd.

Another thing Flannery said was, "But there's a grain of stupidity that the writer of fiction can hardly do without, and this is the quality of having to stare of not getting the point at once."

I find that a comfort.


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May 2009



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