Five quick things this week:
- It’s around this time of year I begin to reflect on the year’s accomplishments and goals for the year ahead. Here’s an interesting freewrite exercise: Your future self pays you a visit to tell you exciting news about your writing. What does this future self say to you?
- I received my copy of The Best American Essays 2020 yesterday. I considered the table of contents. At random, I chose to read Joseph Leo Koerner’s “Maly Trostinets.” I was flabbergasted to learn the fate of my paternal grandmother’s aunt (Freude Seife Adler) and family, their deportation from Vienna to the outskirts of Minsk and extermination. Now I need to update my own essay about my meeting with a surviving cousin of this Adler family.
- When do you know a piece is ready to send out into the world? I’ve been listening to Emily Stoddard at Voice & Vessel and now know my latest essay about a friend who died of cancer is not ready. I need to examine the structure of the piece, and more importantly, the relationships itself. I’m looking forward to more Amherst writing sessions to help me do this.
- Winter break will be busy! I’m teaching an undergrad course in technical writing in three weeks and I just registered for a Winter Intensive Yiddish class. This will be my fourth semester of Yiddish; I’m still considered–and consider myself–a beginner.
- Can a picture book be a sestina? I’m going to find out. I’m working on a picture book biography and have one sestina. Now I have to see if I can write another one to round out the narrative. It’s a good form to show a character’s obsession.