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Category Archives: On Writing

First You Crawl

I went to a dance pageant recently, a holiday performance of ballet, modern and jazz with local girls age 6-16. Actually, I have no idea how old the dancers were. Some were clearly 25, which is amazing, since I know … Continue reading

Topics: On Learning, On Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Demise of Private Writing?

Shortly after my novel came out, I got an interesting email from a reader. She said she hadn’t been sure she would like a book half written in the form of journals, but had been grabbed by the point of … Continue reading

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Own Your Opinions, Kids

One of my children told me recently that he couldn’t ever be a reviewer — of books, art, restaurants, or a sports columnist — because he didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. (Never mind that just a few weeks before, … Continue reading

Topics: On Learning, On Parenting, On Writing | 2 Comments

What does a novel’s interior design say about its characters?

Do settings reflect the mood of a novel? Or do settings set the mood? I’m not being cute, in a chicken-and-egg sort of way. Clearly in some books the environment and dwellings play just a bit part, while in others … Continue reading

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Does Publishing A Novel Change Your Life?

My book’s launch party felt a little like a wedding. Well, one where my five children had already been born, and were racing around jacked up on chocolate-dipped strawberries. The bash was in an old brownstone in Boston. There was … Continue reading

Topics: On Faith, Hope & Love, On Parenting, On Writing | 12 Comments

Novel Catharsis

The day I accidentally started my novel, there was a torrential downpour. I remember sitting in the car waiting to pick up my children from preschool, rain streaming down the windshield. Like tears, I thought. And out of nowhere—because they’re … Continue reading

Topics: On Faith, Hope & Love, On Learning, On Writing | 12 Comments

Author One-on-One: Nichole Bernier and Dani Shapiro

Dani Shapiro: This is your first novel after years of being a magazine editor and writer.  What made you decide to write this story?  Joan Didion describes material she wants to write as having “a shimmer” around its edges.  What … Continue reading

Topics: On Writing | 5 Comments

The One Who Won’t See It

I saw the first copy of my hardcover the other day. I won’t have it in-hand until next week, but my publisher needed a mockup for a magazine photo shoot. So the jpg appeared in my inbox, cheeky as the … Continue reading

Topics: On Faith, Hope & Love, On Parenting, On Relationships, On Writing | 5 Comments

Unexcused Absence

Last night I dreamed I was back at high school and — who hasn’t had this dream? —that I’d missed an entire semester of classes. I don’t remember whether I was naked, the usual insult to injury. But I had … Continue reading

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Say What You Mean To Say

Words matter. They matter whether you say them or write them, because you never know how you might impact someone. And words don’t have an expiration date. That was the message of a blog post (http://beyondthemargins NULL.com/2012/04/the-power-of-words/) by a colleague of mine … Continue reading

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