In Support of Trans Rights

My colleague, Veronica Pillar, gave a powerful speech last night at the Legislature about supporting people's right to simply be who they are. Please read and share and support trans people however you can. --- I want to speak briefly on trans rights, because recently there has been an alarming sharp rise in anti-transgender rhetoric and policy. I'm sure you've heard of the bathroom bills that require kids to use bathrooms that match their genitals rather than their actual asserted gender. Other laws ban teachers from using their students' preferred pronouns.   I'm a teacher, I have trans students, and I would never call my students by pronouns they don't use because that is a denial of who they are. Several states are banning gender affirming healthcare for minors, essentially requiring teenagers to detransition.   Tennessee has banned wearing clothes that don't match the gender on your birth certificate. Florida is working on legalizing the kidnapping of

Favorite Books on Writing- Part 2

Here is part 2 of my listing of favorite writing books. All are worthy of a deep read and several hours of your undivided attention. 

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

"Basically, if you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot. And don't think too much.  Just enter the heat of the words and sounds and colored sensations and keep your pen moving across the page."

The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty

"Drives are largely controlled by the limbic system, a group of brain nuclei that interact strongly with the temporal lobes. Admittedly, separating drive and talent is sometimes complicated, because they are so enmeshed. When someone is highly motivated to do something, that person is likely to learn to do it well, and when someone can do something well (especially when it wins praise), the ability to do it often increases the drive to do it."

The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick

"It had been my intention when I began this book to provide an overview of nonfiction writing, but I very quickly saw that this was a task beyond my powers. The presence in a memoir or an essay of the truth speaker--the narrator that a writer pulls out of his or her own agitated and boring self to organize a piece of experience--it was about this alone that I felt I had something to say; and it was to those works in which such a narrator comes through strong and clear that I was invariably drawn."

Tell it Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola

"Creative nonfiction is tricky business. On the one hand you have the challenge--and the thrill--of turning real life into art.  But on the other hand, you have to deal with all the issue that come attached with that 'real life.'" 

To Show and To Tell by Phillip Lopate 

"A good place to start is your quirks. These are the idiosyncrasies, stubborn tics, antisocial mannerisms, and so on that set you apart from the majority. There will be more than enough time later to assert your common humanity, or better yet, to let the reader make the mental bridge between your oddities and those of everyone else. But to establish credibility, you would do well to resist coming across as absolutely average."