Monthly Archives: September 2010

Rowan Williams

Writers’ Trigger: I’m reading Anne Tyler, the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Breathing Lessons. She has written many books – not one second-rate. At present, I’m reading Celestial Navigation. I had never heard of this title (one of her early ones, 1974), but her … Continue reading

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Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey

Writers’ Trigger: If you don’t already have a picture file, you should start one today. Picture files are particularly handy if your morning pages loom like a rainy day. If your writing looms, go through your picture file until a photo catches your … Continue reading

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Alvin Ailey

Writing Trigger: Lucky me. I saw the Alvin Ailey American Dance theatre at Sadler’s Wells last night and I can now die a happy woman. The English do not do standing ovations. They clap. They might clap heartily, their hands face-high … Continue reading

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Tango Fever

Writers’ Trigger: Fresh from London’s Tango Festival weekend, I am consumed by thoughts of dance- a good trigger if there ever was one. Write about learning to dance. Write about going to your first dance. Write about being a wallflower, … Continue reading

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The Pope Addresses Secularism

Writers’ Trigger: One of my favorite triggers is to jumpstart a story with objects.  Consider that you are looking at the following objects: a camera, a steak knife, a timetable, a hat, an empty wine bottle and a passport. Use any four of … Continue reading

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My Inner Latina

Writers’ Trigger: I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna.  The story starts in Mexico in 1929. The first paragraph begins: “In the beginning were the howlers. They always commenced their bellowing in the first hour of dawn, just as the hem of the … Continue reading

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Beyond Hope and Glory

Writers’ Trigger: Some writers start without a plan, and as their characters take on a life of their own, a plot evolves; others make elaborate schematic plans from the very get-go. Neither way is better than the other. It is … Continue reading

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Windows to the World

Writers’ Trigger: It always drives me crazy when in the process of defending a personal point of view, someone will say, “Well… everyone I talk to…” They say this as though statistically, based on the number of people whom they’ve … Continue reading

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Cristo and Jeanne-Claude

Writers’ Triggers: Go to a cafe or grocery or postoffice. Capture a fragment of conversation. Incorporate that conversation is a short piece. You don’t have to follow the imagined trajectory. Take the dialogue and move it in another direction. You say … Continue reading

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Remember This

Writers’ Trigger: My head is full of remembering. I’ve got my heart set on seeing Michael Gambon in Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett. The play opens on the 15th. Tonight. I’ll get tickets tonight. I’ve seen the play before, but … Continue reading