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I Wasn't Born Yesterday: The Beauty of Backstory

8.31.13

Novelist Eleanor Henderson discusses the beauty and necessity of backstory in fiction, offering a counterpoint to a previously published article in which novelist Benjamin Percy warned writers about the dangers of backstory.

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The Art of Reading Lauren Slater

by William Giraldi

The Literary Life

July/August 2014

<p>In her genre-defying book <i>Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir</i>, published in 2000 by Random House, Lauren Slater toys with the conventions of fact, fiction, memory, and art, introducing fabricated occurrences and physical conditions to unveil the truth of her experience—and of the human condition.</p>

Ghost in the Machine: A Typewriter, a Postcard, and the Objects of Memory

by Maria Mutch

The Literary Life

May/June 2014

<p>A writer’s search for a typewriter brings her face to face with both present and past, and helps her understand ideas of friendship, memory, connection, and loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

No Ideas but in Things: The Importance of First Objects

by Elizabeth Kostova

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>Channeling some of our earliest memories, and specifically the physical objects that often exist at the center of such recollections, can prove to be a productive writing exercise—and might just open the floodgates to inspiration.&nbsp;</p>

Pedestrian Adventures: Walking to Inspiration

by Celia Johnson

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>A number of writers—including Dickens, Thoreau, Woolf, and Wordsworth, to name a few—have turned to walking for inspiration. This essay explores the myriad benefits that ambulatory excercise can have on the creative life.&nbsp;</p>

Urban Tumbleweed: Perambulatory Poetry

by Harryette Mullen

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>Poet Harryette Mullen explains how daily walks inspired her most recent collection, <em>Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary</em> (Graywolf Press, 2013), and shares a selection of poems from the book.&nbsp;</p>

Rethinking Restriction: Creative Limitation as a Positive Force

by M. Allen Cunningham

Special Section

January/February 2014

<p>While writers often express the need for fewer restrictions in their writing lives, one author argues that implementing limitations may actually lead to surprising—and productive—results.</p>
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