Life is in the margins

William Pearse | pinklightsabre


People go to blogger conferences for about as many reasons as people blog. I went to the first one hosted by WordPress in Portland a few weeks ago with the simple goal of being inspired, and learning how to navigate Portland by bus, without a phone.

I had to leave early, but knew I’d gotten my money’s worth. On the drive back to Seattle I stopped twice at Rest Areas to write, to remind myself why I blog here, and the question of What’s Beyond.

On the first night, they had a mixer at the hotel in downtown Portland. I stopped at a bar beforehand and met a librarian who asked what I was doing there: I told her a blogger conference and she laughed, and asked what do they talk about at blogger conferences: blogging?

She was there for a librarian’s conference, on Day 3 with another day to…

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Not Good Enough: Confronting Gendered Self-Doubt by Stephanie Sylverne

Chicago Literati

Two years ago, while my grandmother was dying of cancer, I discovered she’d once had a calligraphy piece in an exhibition at the Newberry Library, an independent research institution in Chicago. She didn’t tell me this herself; I happened to find an old brochure from the event with her name listed as an exhibitor.

How could she neglect to mention this? Being part of a Newberry exhibition is definitely a brag-worthy accomplishment. Plus I’d started working on an historical novel that featured the library rather prominently, and was also based quite a bit on her family’s past, so the connection was sort of serendipitous.

I asked her where the piece was. I wanted to take it home and add it to the shrine of her artwork that was steadily collecting in my house. “Oh, that. I gave that away a long time ago,” she told me.

“You gave it away?…

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Waiting for Transformation by Cecily Berberat

Chicago Literati

The Disney dream factory has done it again. Despite audible groans over remake upon remake upon remake and a disheartening number of references to that condescending and gender normative term, “chick flick,” Kenneth Branagh’s live action Cinderella waltzed its way to box office victory this past month. The film’s continued profits approach the $400 million mark according to, who also confirmed Disney’s greedy plans to transform two to four more of its fairy tale mainstays into live action moneymakers. Large numbers beget large numbers and there’s no great mystery to the powerhouse marketing and distribution success bankrolled by Disney’s own bottomless pockets. The critical backlash to the Cinderella story, and Branagh’s most recent rendering of it, also fails to surprise. This newest Cinderella is too passive. She’s not ambitious or opinionated enough. She’s not smart enough and her waist is too small. Is she wearing a corset? Of course…

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HOW To Finish Your Damn Book


At the beginning of this year I wrote a post for that treasure trove of writing and publishing information,, about why you should finish your damn book. You can read that post here. It proved really popular. So popular that it seems to me like a lot of you are in the same place I was until last summer: wanting nothing more than to have finished your book, but finding yourself doing everything but writing it.

It’s all well and good for me to tell you why you should finish your book (nutshell: a finished book is the one thing everyone who ever got published/successfully self-published has in common) but how do you do it? How do you overcome procrastination? How do you finish your damn book?

I only know what worked for me, but maybe you’ll find something in there that works for you. Let’s see…


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