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Creative Writing Workshop (25): The Reading Life

All the time and everywhere readers encounter resistance, some of it fierce. Young readers are bullied in schoolyards and classrooms, and in locker rooms later on. Readers are bullied by governments, School Boards, Legislatures, preachers, pastors, priests and peers. Many young readers are bullied by…

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Creative Writing Workshop (24): The Reading Life

Perhaps thinking of a sparkling June day in the green English countryside (puffy white clouds above, temperatures in the low 70s, a light southwesterly breeze, neither annoying insects nor humidity, the sound of birdsong), Henry James chose “summer afternoon” as the most beautiful words in…

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Creative Writing Workshop (23): The Reading Life

–“As Rilke says, there are no classes for beginners in life, the most difficult thing is always asked of one right away.” (From “A Sport and a Pastime” by James Salter). Yes, a child is asked the most difficult thing right away. For some, poverty…

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Creative Writing Workshop (22): The Reading Life

At the periphery of existence are suicide and mental illness, each submerged in the tide of Everydayness. “They” omit mention of suicide in the Sunday obituaries. “They” have swept mental illness under the rug. We long for normalcy, a smooth ride, and an idealized conception…

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Creative Writing Workshop (21): The Reading Life

Everydayness–that ontology of the commonplace that dominates our lives, polices our world from the shadows. Its functionaries and sheriffs abound, representatives from the gray realm of routine—the job, the marriage and the kids, the lateness of the showery afternoon, commuting in heavy traffic as drive-time…

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Creative Writing Workshop (20): Signpost

  Reading means approaching something that is just coming into being. Italo Calvino, “If  on a winter’s night a traveler..”   [ viagra soft | generic viagra ok | viagra cialis cheap | buy generic cialis expressdelivery | alternative viagra external | ordering viagra overnight…

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Creative Writing Workshop (19): The Reading Life

The reading life seems to encompass two (seemingly) contradictory states of mind. There is the mindfulness required of any serious reader, a focus that demands quiet, solitude and attention, a “shutting-out” of distracting sensory impressions. You read in a sunny room. You’re distanced from noise…

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Creative Writing Workshop (18): The Reading Life

In Prague, Kafka informs a friend that books ought to wound the soul—that a book should cause us grief equal to the death of someone we love more than we love ourselves.  In Key West, Hemingway is writing the opening of his masterpiece, “A Farewell…

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Creative Writing Workshop (17): The Reading Life

  Kafka’s belief that a book should affect us like a disaster or a blow to the head, that a book should take an ax to the frozen sea inside us, contrasts not only with the nineteenth century world of “great” or “heroic” literature as…

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Creative Writing Workshop (16): The Reading Life

And then Franz Kafka throws a bomb into a library full of happy readers. Kafka not only wants us to read books that wound and stab us, but also is sure that without books we’d be happier. Talk to anybody not in the reading life…

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