Try saying that three times fast!
Things are about to get serious around here in the writing department. Starting Tuesday, (following a day trip for some obscure family business to Ozark, Alabama tomorrow), Buck is going to hunker down in his writing spot set up on the second floor near the pool table (helps a man think), while I will be retreating to my dark cave with its desk, good reading light, music and a comfy chair.
We have been talking the talk. Now we’re going to try walking the walk. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I spent a lot of time in my cool, dark cave (also known as “the study”) this weekend, reading, filing away New Yorker and Harper’s fiction stories, and gathering the fragments of writing projects I have energetically begun and abandoned.
On the book shelves and stacked up on the floor by the comfy chair, I found an intriguing assortment of literary magazines, books on writing, and memoirs. Unfortunately, we don’t live close enough to one another to have a real writer’s group, but I think our blog sharing, communication through mutual comments, and occasional e-mails is lively and interesting. Our interaction and sharing encourages and inspires me to keep on writing, reading, learning and synthesizing. In short, it has improved the quality of my life and added to my happiness.
And so, in the spirit of opening our porthole of communication just a bit wider, I invite you to participate in a little experiment called The Longleaf Lending Library & Literary Exchange!
From time to time, I’ll post the name of a literary magazine or book that I’ve finished and am willing to part with. If you would like to read it, send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will mail it to you. The only fine print is that if more than one person would like to read the same book or journal, I’ll send it to the first person requesting, and then ask that you send it along to the next person. (Any sharing of addresses will be done via private e-mail and not on the blog). The literary magazines can continue to travel. Occasionaly, I’ll ask that a book eventually make it’s way back to me.
If you haven’t read lit mags before, you may have a wrong impression about them. They each have their own unique personality. They have stories, poems, photographs, art, reviews, and fascinating interviews with authors. Some specialize in creative or literary nonfiction; others in memoir. Some of the writers stir me deeply, while others go so far with their experimentation of the form that they lose my mossy head from the get-go. But even those may ring your bell and light a spark. In any case, at my age, stage, and general orneriness, I will never get an M.F.A. in creative writing. I believe these books and journals — among many others — are a crucial piece of my own education as a person who intends to still be writing as a centenarian.
Let’s make a start and give it a whirl. Any of the journals or books listed are immediately available.
– on writing
The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again* by Sven Birkerts
Old Friend from Far Away * by Natalie Goldberg
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor
The Memoir and the Memorist by Thomas Larson
Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life by Philip Gerard
If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard*
One Year to a Writing Life by Susan M. Tiberghien
The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick*
The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Riffs & Reciprocities prose pairs by Stephen Dunn (I would want this one back, but somehow wound up with an extra.)
*Books marked with an asterisk are the ones I hope will eventually find their way back home.
THE LITERARY MAGAZINES
Note: Most of these are quarterly or semi-annual, so I have several issues available to send.
VQR (This is one I’ll send out as long as you pledge blood, your first-born child or Labrador retriever, or something else of high value that you’ll send it back. When you see it, you’ll know why I am a vehement fan.)
The Paris Review
The Sewanee Review
The Chattahoochee Review
The Bellingham Review
The Missouri Review
The Southeast Review
Shenandoah (The Washington and Lee University Review)
American Short Fiction
Note: My current favorite is a journal called Memoir(and). I only have one issue so far, but I’m still re-reading it. It’s the one with Richard Gilbert’s fine piece, “Remembering Paul.” By the way, I highly recommend that you add Richard’s blog, Narrative, to your “must read” list.
Finally, I just now subscribed to Copper Nickel. They publish twice a year. I think I’ll get my first issue in October. I’ll write about it then.
If you would like for me to send you a book or journal, just send me an email with the one you want, along with your name and address. Send your note to “ejwestmark at gmail.com. ” Out of the U.S. addresses are fine, too.