Welcome to the Creative Writing Blog for Seattle University!

Hi, Everybody! I'm Sharon Cumberland, the Director of Seattle U's Creative Writing Program. I'm starting this blog so that our English majors--both CW and Lit--will know what's going on in the program--our readings, our trips to the opera, our free "Writer's Chronicles"--as well as getting information about our successful grads and their publications. This will be the place for faculty, students, alums and friends of the program to talk to each other, find out what's up,and talk about craft. Come join us!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Anne Lamott, author of "Bird by Bird," will be on campus February 5th!

If you haven't read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird yet, you should run to the bookstore and get it--it's one of the best advice & encouragement books for writers of all genres I've ever read. It's a perennial favorite among teachers of writing because Lamott is funny, unpretentious, and full of hard-won advice and insight into how to start writing, keep writing, and how to make your writing better. I know there is a stack of her books at the SU bookstore because I ordered them for my Poetry Writing class.

Amazingly enough, this very famous (and, I'll bet, expensive to hire) speaker/writer is going to be on campus February 5th as part of the annual Search for Meaning Book Fair sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry (STM). It will be in the Pigott Atrium and surrounding rooms, and in the Pigott auditorium. Here's the link to the schedule--Lamott is speaking in Pigott Auditorium at 10:15 AM as keynote speaker--but get there early! She's famous, she's funny, and (for you to attend) she's free! A winning combination:      www.seattleu.edu/stm/searchformeaningschedule.aspx

Here are some gems from Bird by Bird:

On writing about your family: "Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point at you, while a chilling voice thundered, 'We told you not to tell!' But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on."

On shitty first drafts: "For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.  The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all our out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of your characters wants to say ,"Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?' you let her. No one is going to see it."

On jealousy: "Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading. And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are a) getting older, b) talking about it until the fever breaks, and c) using it as material. Also, someone somewhere along the line is going to be able to make you start laughing about it, and then you will be on your way home."

1 comment:

  1. I so wish I could be there (wish I was in the same state, for that matter)! I recently used the bit on Shitty First Drafts in one of my intro writing courses and I could physically see the barriers between students and writers fall. Enjoy this reading, everyone!