Alethea Black

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Writers Recommend

Posted 7.10.13

“When I lived in NYC, my writing ritual was to ride the city bus. My favorite was the M104, which had both an uptown and a crosstown leg. Sometimes I’d ride all the way to the end of the line and back. I loved being on a journey to nowhere, a little higher than the other cars and pedestrians, completely free of the usual to-do-list urgencies. I think it gave me a sense of timelessness. Also, it helped me see the world with a child’s eyes (when is one more purely a passenger than in childhood?). I pay a lot of attention to beauty and musicality when I write, but I also like plot—stories where something actually happens—and I think I borrowed energy from the act of moving through space. It was funny, though, because I enjoyed it so much that sometimes I’d be out with people, see a bus go by, and think: “I want to be on it.” Now that I’ve moved upstate, writing in a moving car isn’t as easy (or as cheap), but my ever-present tape recorder helps. I also escape pedestrian life with Smith Magazine and their wonderful six-word stories—the narrative equivalent of the world flashing by your bus window—where I’ve placed my own six-word memoir of the writing life: ‘Turned my struggle into my song.’”
—Alethea Black, author of I Knew You'd Be Lovely (Broadway Books, 2011)

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Our Independent Publishing Issue features an in-depth interview with Graywolf Press editor Jeff Shotts; a look at the successful partnerships of eleven small-press authors and their editors; a profile of indie essayist Charles D'Ambrosio; Donald Hall recalls a golden age of American poetry; best-selling author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore on the rewards of self-promotion; advice for self-published authors; a conversation with Guernica publisher Lisa Lucas; and much more.

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