Novel Excerpt at Narrative and Fall Workshops


The sunrise this morning was so liquid and golden and slow, it seemed to drape itself like something sheer, a fabric, a mantle of light, over the magnolia leaves, the thinning grass, the foliage of the elderwood, layering everything under sheer beauty. This season. How can we even bear the loveliness? Sometimes, I can’t. But, I do have some happy September writing news to share. First of all, an excerpt of my novel (the prologue and first chapter) was published recently in Narrative. Versions of the prologue have appeared in december magazine and Nowhere, but chapter one, which is the bulk of this excerpt, has never appeared in print until now, and I’m excited to share it with you. It’s called The Part That Burns and you can read it here. It feels good to have this sliver of hard work find its way into the world.

Second, my lovely and amazing daughter Sophie just landed a full-time writing job, no easy feat in today’s tough writing market! Sophie has been writing professionally since high school. By her first year of college, I was hiring Sophie to help with significant book projects, including the preliminary organization and drafting of The Good Caregiver, a book I co-wrote with the late Dr. Robert Kane. From there, she went on to write for many of my writing clients as well as scores of her own, while also building up a serious creative writing practice of her own (and a growing list of publications and awards to show for that commitment). To earn your way through life with your love of words—well, it can be an arduous path, but also a glorious one. I’m so happy for Sophie, so proud of her hard work, and so grateful to share a writing life with this amazing human who is not just a daughter, but also a best friend. Thankfully, Sophie will still be teaching with Elephant Rock this year, so stay tuned about upcoming classes with her.

Finally, our workshops and retreats are off to a great start this fall, as well! We have one last-minute opening in our Art of the Fractured remote writing workshop starting this Thursday, so do let me know right away if you would like to join us. We explore inventive and unusual fragmented writing forms. It’s original, challenging, and fun—and last year, several students went on to publish work produced in the class. Meanwhile, Write for Your Life, our October memoir intensive in Minneapolis, has two spots left. That workshop is a perennial favorite and a great fit for anyone serious about exploring the art of writing from life. And our beloved, deep fall offering for reclaiming and re-igniting creativity, the Mystery of Yin Retreat for Women Only in Grand Marais, Minnesota, has four spots left. We would love for you to join us.

Next time I write here, I’ll talk more about the creative nonfiction class I’ve been teaching at Moose Lake Correctional Facility. It’s been fabulous, and I’d love to tell you more about the class, my growth as a teacher, and the marvelous work of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.

Meanwhile, stay drenched in beauty.