A website for readers and creative writing students

Above my desk, along with my daughter's artwork and a photo of Colette, are two quotations. One is from Matisse:

"When I've arranged a bouquet for a still life, I always turn it to the side I didn't intend to paint."
The other is from Blake:
"If the fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise."
Abigail DewittThe Matisse reminds me that the point is not to write the novel I intended to write, but rather the one I discovered in the course of arranging my material. Art is often an accident; I can't control the outcome, but I can show up, put words on the page—keep arranging and re-arranging those flowers—until I discover a new and unexpected perspective.

I like the quotation from Matisse, but I love the one from Blake. Every writer has felt like a fool, but often, it's when we feel the most foolish that we're on verge of doing our best work. And if we persist, if we don't shy away from the possibility of embarrassment, we can complete that best work and send it out into the world. The most important thing I can do for my students is to help them past whatever embarrassment or shyness holds them back from their best writing. The most important thing I can do as a writer is to follow the advice I give my students.

This website is designed to be used by my readers as well as my students. If you'd like more information about my books, workshops or one-on-one mentoring, please click on the links above.