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Showing posts from August, 2015

Breaking Your Novel Out of Your Circle

"Write what you know." Author Elif Shafak asserts in her TED Talk that taken too seriously, this piece of advice locks our creative work into an airtight bubble where it will shrivel and die. She beautifully describes the value of stretching our imaginations and writing diverse characters who live differently than we have.



I heartily agree with her. I believe that it is not only ethically good to seek an understanding or imagining of what others' experiences may be like--it is artistically important to include a variety of different characters in a work of fiction to let it come alive.

On the other hand, I also believe in the notion I've seen floating around social media lately, that in this culture of high criticism, everyone has not become "too politically correct" or "too sensitive"; we've collectively become wiser and more empathetic. We know better, and we're trying to do better. I see this striving toward representing humans better i…

Three Generations Going Up North

This summer, we went on a classic Michigan vacation! We packed multiple generations of family into a couple of cars, hit up two cheesy tourist traps along the road as well as several rest stops, and stayed at a rustic family cabin "Up North."


We made the most of it, because this is the first time my dear husband and I have been out of town in over a year! Of course, our vacations now are a lot different than before we became parents. For one thing, there is absolutely no privacy or intimacy. We're sharing a bed with a kid and a cabin with my parents. And of course, we all drive each other up the wall on occasion. But we also have a lot of fun together, with more players for games, more conversation, and more opportunities to relive childhood memories of family vacations past.

Some highlights of our classic Michigan road trip included:The distinctive surf and sand of Lake Michigan. The shores of the Great Lakes offer a full sensory experience like no other. You can sense t…