to do today

  1. write blog post
  2. read over 5 pages of novel-details (every day 5 pages)
  3. make airline reservations for Oct trip to California
  4. out
    1. buy birthday gifts (8 birthdays in 10 days in sept)
    2. exercise
    3. grocery (supper!)
    4. make copy of photo
  5. call
    1. cancel exercise apt in Atl
    2. Dad
    3. Claire at 3:00
    4. Jodi
  6. work on novel revision-big picture
  7. play with point-of-view in general
  8. edit reviews for Contrary
  9. edit HM piece
  10. read

Not sure how time feels to the rest of you, but if you have a little to play with, don’t miss Robin Black’s To Do list, the second list of the new feature Lists: Literary & Laundry at Hunger Mountain:

“For as long as I can remember I have made TO DO lists with the letters of TO DO all caps.”

What’s on your list for today?

the writing life

For the last couple of months at Hunger Mountain, Claire Guyton, former Art +Life editor, and I have been working together to expand that section of the journal into The Writing Life.

Here’s what’s up and coming at

THE WRITING LIFE:

1) ANOTHER LOOSE SALLY – Hunger Mountain’s blog about writers and writing anchored by Claire Guyton (check in every Thursday!)

~june 16: The Catch / june 9: Shape is the Thing / june 3: Envisioning Concrete Pianos /may 26: New Writing Rule

2) AUTHOR VISITS  – interviews with the Hunger Mountain contributors

3) CRAFT SHORTS & ESSAYS – large and small doses of craft (online submissions for both forms now open)

~first short: On Endings: 11 Strategies by David Jauss

~May essay: Conjuring the Magic of Story by Stephanie Friedman

4) LISTS: LITERARY & LAUNDRY – coming soon – postcards from the organizational side of the writing brain

5) WRITER, INC., debuting in September, memos from the business of the writer’s life 

6) REVIEWS GONE SIDEWAYS – coming soon – anything but your mother’s reviews.

Check us out here

and

stay tuned!

invite the thing down

Miciah Bay Gault, Managing Editor of Hunger Mountain, was inspired by a note George Saunders wrote on one of her stories to discover what was “unique and iconic” to her. In her engaging Editor’s Note to Hunger Mountain 15, she describes Ray Bradbury’s “writing practice of word association, in which he scribbled long lists of nouns.” It was a practice he did quickly and without thinking. From Bradbury:

I leave you now at the bottom of your own stair, at half past midnight, with a pad, a pen, and a list to be made. Conjure the nouns, alert the secret self, taste the darkness. Your own THING stands waiting ‘way up there in the attic shadows. If you speak softly, and write any old word that wants to jump out of your nerves onto the page…Your Thing at the top of the stairs in your own private night…may well come down.

In Hunger Mountain 15, Miciah brilliantly invited 21 writers (Michael Martone and Paul Lisicky among them) to share their lists, their “raw bits of writing, meant to invite the Thing down.” While you’re waiting for your copy to arrive, I invite you to leave your own list in the comments below. I’ll start us off…

[Hunger Mountain 15: The Thing at the Top of the Stairs. And I haven’t even mentioned the fiction or the photography.]

as i was saying

Friday night I settled into my bed at The Whetstone Inn with the latest issue of Hunger Mountain. I wanted to read Robin MacArthur’s essay, “Abandoned Landscapes.” Robin lives in Marlboro only minutes from where I was at the moment. What fun to read that essay when I was in the grips of her landscape, I thought.

I could hear Robin’s voice as I read. Last summer, she delivered this essay as her graduating lecture at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She wrote:

I was born amidst three hundred acres of land in Southern Vermont that my family has owned for three generations, on a road that carries my name. I grew up throwing hay bales, tapping sugar maples, building forts in the woods… This landscape is how I know the world and myself in it, and, undeniably, part of who I am.

Robin’s essay discusses the fiction of Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway. It’s one of the best essays on landscape I’ve ever read. Order a copy of Hunger Mountain today and let me know what you think. In my next post, yet another reason to order a copy of this issue of Hunger Mountain.

I’ll close with Robin’s words:

Our obsessions are the keys to our art; if we pay enough attention to them, we will find ourselves on the road to originality, resonance, truth.

leaving montpelier

So for the last ten days, I’ve been in Montpelier, Vermont, at my third residency at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. More about those ten days later.

Yesterday evening around five, Jodi, Jenna, and I left Montpelier in the middle of a snow storm–the Hartford Sheraton our destination.

Not so fast. In fact, not fast at all. Ice covered the interstate, and we crawled along at forty miles an hour. I placed a 911 call to report a single car into an embankment. Then two more accidents. We would have done better on skates.

We gave up around Brattleboro, where we slid off the interstate for a steak dinner and to reassess. Jodi lives in nearby Marlboro, and she suggested we stay the night there at The Whetstone Inn. She called her friend Jean, who welcomed us into her 220-year-old inn around nine last night. We shuffled in the front door through five inches of newly fallen snow.

After standing outside in the snowy silence trying to get a cell phone signal to let my husband know where I was, I settled into my twin bed with the latest issue of Hunger Mountain.

My flight is boarding. More to follow…