my "advice to writers" and Charles D'Ambrosio

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It is perhaps fitting that today, as I set off to Penn for the inaugural spring 2015 memoir class, Jon Winokur is posting my contribution to his "Advice to Writers" series, found here.

Six questions, six quick responses. Here, for example, my thoughts on writer's block:

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I suffer from a lost faith in my ability to solve hard literary problems. And then I chip away at them.

But really, always, my advice comes down to reading more than you write and living more than anything else, and so may I amplify today's post by encouraging, nay, insisting, that those of you who want to write memoir or essays or memoristic essays and have not read Charles D'Ambrosio's essays get a copy of Loitering: New and Collected Essays, newly out from the fabulous Tin House Books. D'Ambrosio is a supreme master of the form—witty, willing to fail, eager to digress, self referent while avoiding self-absorption (see my thoughts on Rachel Cusk's Outline, here), devoted, in his words, to capturing "the conflicted mind in motion."

Buy this collection, watch him work.

Off to teach failure and mistakes at Penn. Things at which I'm expertly good.


Serena said...

Sounds wonderful, the collection, and your advice is always fantastic.

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