Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘craft’

Shop Talk |

My Inner Erma: Embracing Humor Writing

My close friend Anthony once told me during an e-mail conversation that he considered me the modern-day equivalent of Erma Bombeck. I was offended. I think my actual reply was “WTF?” Anthony was confused. “Erma Bombeck was a great writer,” he typed. “She melded all of this every day experience into something bigger, but she did it by being funny.” “I don’t want to be Erma Bombeck! I want to be Joan Didion!” “You’re not that kind of serious,” he wrote. “Can I be Alice Munro?” It went on like this until he said, “You know, I meant it as […]


Essays |

That’s Funny

Debra Spark on what’s funny in fiction–and what’s not. “The humor that works in literary fiction, the humor I like, is female. I mean ‘female’ in a pretty stereotypical way here. I don’t mean that the literary work is by women per se, but that it is relational.”


Shop Talk |

The Unsaid Meaning of Writing: Don’t Write

On a recent trip out of New York, headed home to Seattle, where my wife and I share a house and also where much of my writing is done, I found myself on the jet-way leading from the terminal to the airplane. The passengers were backed up single-file along the tunnel, not in any uniform way, but in that impatient, lean to the right then lean to the left then look down the row toward where they should have been five minutes before kind of way. It’s intimate in a way only elevators are intimate. Everyone so close you can […]




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