Why Writers Are Baristas

Last year about this time, I graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing. This past weekend, plenty of my writer friends walked across that same stage to grab their diplomas as well. Creative Writing MFA programs are flooded with applicants, and the recent trends predict that the number of undergrads majoring in creative writing will soar over the next ten years. I know plenty of people (who, graciously, I won’t name) shake their heads at this degree choice. They inevitably say the same things: So you’re going to be a teacher? OR, My coffee barista is a writer.

Yes, I’m sure she is. And there’s a brilliant reason why writers are baristas, and once you hear my philosophy, you’ll never look at a creative writing degree the same.

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Portland Arts and Lectures Presents: Julia Alvarez

Last month, I had hot literary date with Elizabeth! We love to go to readings by some of our favorite authors, and we go every chance we get. Our friends might raise an eyebrow, saying that it’s an excuse for gluten-free restaurant shenanigans and a glass of wine, and maybe we wouldn’t argue too vehemently against their theory. At any rate, we had the privilege of hearing Julia Alvarez speak at the Schnitz, through Literary Arts and their Portland Arts & Lectures series. You already know how much of a fangirl I am for Literary Arts when I gave you the skinny on seeing Salman Rushdie last fall. In case you forgot, they rock! They put writers in the schools, do literary outreach in the community through Delve (I was a liaison!), and honor Oregon authors through the Oregon Book Awards. All fantastic stuff!

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Life Lessons Learned From My First NaNoWriMo

It’s over. We’re done even if we’re not done. NaNoWriMo won’t be back for another 333 days no matter how much we whine and cry and scream and rejoice and swear we’re never going to do that crazy shit ever again! We will. And we will start it up again in 333 days. Since this was my first NaNoWriMo, I went into it a bit naively. I believed I would spend more time at the keyboard, more days glued to my screen, more hours wishing I had a different location, smarter characters, more or less plot (depending on the chapter), a ghost writer, a steady supply of heroin to numb the agony. What I wouldn’t have believed is that I would finish NaNoWriMo and have also learned some life lessons from the experience.

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