the master of creative non-fiction spills all in his latest book, Draft №4

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Creative non-fiction and its sister, literary journalism, have thrived in popular literature since the days of Joan Didion and her incisive inquiries into the kaleidoscope world of 1960s California.

Writers such as Susan Orlean, Joseph Mitchell, and John McPhee are just a few of the heavyweights who have made non-fiction writing the art form that it is today.

I recently finished reading John McPhee’s Draft №4, a book brimming forth with insights into the life and methods of a master journalist. …

why finishing your work is the most important thing you can do as a writer

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We all get a little starry-eyed when we think of our favorite works of art.

The evocative and tender stroke of a paintbrush. A sentence so gorgeously wrought you find yourself whispering it aloud, just to relish the sound of it on your tongue. Entire universes of the human condition at 24 frames per second.

These works of art are masterpieces, in every sense of the word.

Despite their inherent beauty, I’m often struck by something beyond the workmanship of such pieces. …

how writing like the queen of memoirs helped me to see life in a different light

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The day before spring break in 2019, on a total whim, I picked up a copy of Just Kids from the university library.

I had little to no idea who Patti Smith was, aside from being a singer — in fact, I had far more knowledge about the book’s twin subject, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Regardless, I checked the book out and stuffed it in my bag and off home I went for a week in March.

And my life was totally changed.


a technique every writer can use to get to the heart of what matters most

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I’m a playwright by trade.

What feels most comfortable to me as a writer are a bunch of talking heads, blathering away on stage, spouting off whatever comes into their minds without dreaming of the consequences. A slip of the tongue and suddenly — drama!

It’s amazing what comes to the surface when we simply let ourselves talk uninhibited. …

or, lessons on creativity from the master of ingenuity, David Lynch

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For a man whose art has become synonymous with the bizarre, the surreal, and the vaguely unsettling, David Lynch leads a pretty ordinary lifestyle.

On an average day, meaning one free from outside obligations, Lynch is the average Joe. He gets up. He makes himself a cup of coffee. He meditates.

And he gets going on his latest creative pursuit.

Sound like anyone you know? I can certainly relate. Well, maybe not the meditation part.

David Lynch: the Jack of All Trades

Although best known for his films, David…

in the midst of these strange times, I miss you more than ever…

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Dear Public Library,

It’s been a minute since we parted ways. How are you doing? It must be strange for a public library, these days of closed doors and shuttered windows. Do you feel like you’re holding your breath? I feel like I’m holding mine. The problem is I can’t tell if I’m trying to stay full of air, light, balloon-like — or if I simply fear the emptiness of the exhale.

I hope they’ve left a few blinds open for you. It must be dark inside…

how reading experimental literature can supercharge your own work

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“Don’t be too timid… all life is an experiment,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once mused, likely sitting on his porch and nursing a cup of black coffee as he watched the birds fly by. “The more experiments you make, the better.”

There’s something to be said for staying on the fringes of one’s comfort zone, whether it’s in art, literature, business, or even in simple day-to-day life.

Change can be revitalizing, restorative, the extra kick in the morning we need to get going on that new and innovative project sitting on our…

how Tarantino’s masterpiece is ruled by cycles of renewal and rebirth

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Springtime — all of nature returns to her former glory. The air warms. Daffodils and dandelions lift their cheery heads. The world turns green again, and slowly, ever so slowly, the Earth resumes its place in orbit where all of life renews itself joyfully.

Renewal, restoration, rebirth.

What exactly does all this fullness of life have to do with Quentin Tarantino?

The Legendary Killer of Darlings

If you know Tarantino, you know that the man loves violence. It’s a major hallmark of his style: glamorized destruction, aestheticized gore, and…

why Dean-Charles Chapman will reign in period dramas of the 2020s

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Period dramas are flourishing in the world of cinema today. Look no further than the 92nd Academy Awards, saturated nearly head-to-toe in historical pieces (yes, even Joker is technically considered a period piece), to see the sharp turn toward the past that our cinematic sensibilities have taken.

If you’ve been partaking of the veritable feast of period dramas released in the past few years, you may have noticed that there’s a new face in the mix. …

war-torn France became a sacred place to which I could always return

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When I first learned that 1917 had begun its journey into the world, I wept. This is not unusual. There is a small switch inside of me that I have only recently excavated, and it has only one function — when the waves of my love for cinema begin to crash over my head, the switch is flipped. And when the switch is flipped, those waves of love are turned into waves of tears, heavy with salt, drawn straight from the ocean inside me. A reservoir of sorts…

Dana Marie

l’art pour l’art — for the love of cinema, literature, and the strange places our hearts make home

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