happening around here.
Back in December, I found out I’d been nominated for the Rome Prize, which consists of a funded year of living and writing at the American Academy in Rome.
In December, I was very newly married, very happily working at my full-time teaching job, and generally content. Living abroad, although it’s something that I’ve always had a feeling I wanted do someday, was not something that entered my thoughts about the immediate future.
The American Academy of Arts & Letters, which is incredibly generously funding the prize, needed me to tell them whether I’d accept, if I won. So I spoke to my university—they’re kindly granting me a year’s leave. I spoke to my husband, who told me I’d be crazy if I didn’t accept. And then I spoke to the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and told them that I would.
In February, I was notified that I’d be receiving the award. Last night, at the Rome Prize ceremony in New York, the announcement was made public.
This means that, beginning in September, this will be my view (all photos courtesy of the American Academy in Rome website):
The craziest part: I’ve never actually been to Rome.
Also, I speak zero Italian. (Though Mac and I just signed up for Sunday-afternoon lessons, which I’m pretty excited about.)
Life works in unexpected, wondrous ways. I’ve worked full-time since the end of college, with a brief break for grad school, so a year to write is an immeasurable gift. I’m still wrapping my mind around the luxury of it and dreaming of what I’ll do.
Finally, if you are an expert on Rome, fast’n’easy language acquisition, the visa application process, or all of the above……send your advice my way.
In honor of Flannery O’Connor, who was born on this day in 1925, here are some of her thoughts on the joys and perils of reading and writing.
I write to discover what I know.
Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.
People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.
The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.
F O’C = The Best
1. Write for 4 hours
2. Catch up on work
3. Catch up on Oscars Homework (tm), a term coined by my first, fantastic boss, who was a movie fanatic with a film degree. She loved and eagerly anticipated the Academy Awards and would attempt to watch every film nominated for every major category. Every year she would ask me how I was coming along with my Oscars Homework.
First up: the end of Dallas Buyers Club, which I’m about 3/4 of the way through. (Speaking of Matthew McConnaughey, are we all watching True Detective? Good.)
Next up: Gravity.
After that? Suggestions?
Telling stories is learning who we are. Donate to @narrative4’s crowdrise campaign today.
Original post for more details.
The Korean translation of Heft arrived today.
I wish I could read it. One of the weirdest parts of having the book translated has been putting my faith in the (very talented, I am certain) people the publishing companies hire to translate. Sometimes—especially when it’s in a language that one cannot easily enter into Google Translate or the equivalent—I think, they could be saying anything. I have no idea what is happening on this page. Anyone speak Korean?
Also, apparently this is how you write “Liz Moore”:
Cool. Weird. Cool.
Thank you all very much for your soup suggestions.
The one that sounded most appealing and winter-defying to me was the one suggested by one kind blogger, who wrote:
umcanyounot said: lemony chicken orzo!
So, curious, I googled that phrase and it led me to this recipe.
Which, in turn, led to this dinner:
All Those Vegetables sponsored by my weekend in New Orleans, where few vegetables were had, unless canola oil is considered a vegetable.
Things I did differently than the recipe: added garlic, zucchini, and kale; seared chicken on both sides before drowning in broth; put a lemon slice right in the bowl with the soup. Delicious. Do recommend. Thanks for the suggestion!
P.S. Can we all agree that this soup’s official name should be Lemony Chickett? Great.
What kind of soup should I make for dinner tonight? Go.
In many ways, the past two years have been the fullest years I’ve ever had. I have little in the way of downtime. My job seems to have gotten busier at the same time that I’m waist-deep in writing a novel (yes, I’m writing a novel….we’ll talk about it soon). We’ve also been traveling on weekends for various things, with more traveling to come, and there’s stuff that needs (immediate) fixing on the house, and I keep…taking…on….more. I don’t know why. I don’t like to say no.
That said, I’m writing. So far, I’m writing. I used to be spoiled: I could only write in the morning, I thought, and only at home, and only if I had two hours ahead of me. Now, I write in the cracks. I write whenever I have any time at all. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t write.
This is the secret that it is hardest to convey to students or to the many people who have said to me, over the years, that they’d like to write but that they never have time. No one has time. As Jami Attenberg just noted, what separates writers from non-writers is….writing. Working. Finishing the damn thing.
The other secret is white noise. That’s right. Download a white noise file onto your laptop and bring some good headphones along wherever you go and you will feel like you have a superpower. I am Write-Anywhere-Woman. I can write in the loudest coffeeshop of all and still maintain concentration. (Personal favorite: “White Noise Ocean Waves” from the iconic album Original White Noise, available on iTunes. Rock’n’roll.)
The point is: wean yourself away from the idea that you have to have very specific conditions in which to write. Be prepared to write wherever or whenever you can. Don’t wait for inspiration: find the free hour you have in the middle of any day (or the beginning or the end) and do it.
Good luck, friends.
PSA for Philadelphians: stay off 95. Just had the most harrowing drive of my life. Also saw about four cars just leisurely drift off the roads in the Northeast and Center City.
New word of the day: Bombogenesis. A rapidly intensifying storm. Thanks, John Bolaris!
Anyone looking to get published? Consider submitting to Folio, Holy Family University’s literary magazine. Folio accepts original prose, poetry, and artwork.
Only two days left to submit!
Watch this excellent student-produced commercial, and then submit here: