Kelly Luce Recommends...

“I spend ten minutes reading poetry before trying to write fiction. Poetry drags my lazy brain toward focus: on language, precision, rhythm. It’s like pushing in the clutch before I can start the engine. I also use an idea box. I scribble notes on scraps and throw them into a Payless shoebox and forget them. Most contain just a few words. If I’m stuck I pull out a few scraps and force them into a story. ‘Ms. Yamada’s Toaster,’ the first story in Hana Sasaki, came from: ‘appliance with a superpower,’ ‘Jehova’s Witnesses’ and ‘so much beer.’”
—Kelly Luce, author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (A Strange Object, 2013)


I love the suggestion to

I love the suggestion to start the writing day by reading poetry. I tend to read mainly fiction, and quickly, but it's true that to write well, you need to slow down from the speed of reading, and start to think at the speed of a pen on the page. 


I got into the poetry habit while doing the Bennington MFA program, which secretly focuses on poetry above all else. Hard to do better than Donald Hall describing firsthand meetings with Eliot and Pound. Definitely clears the head for fiction.