February 26, 2012

The Geography of Sentences

Two years ago I reread one of my favorite books, Love Medicine by Minnesota writer Louise Erdrich, and shortly thereafter began writing the essay that would become my MFA graduate lecture. I called it "The Geography of Sentences." I examined word-nerdy terms like syntax. I referred to the psychological ways we react to beautiful phrases and why. And I ended up with a dozen pages that meant something meaningful to me.

I've read The Writer's Chronicle for as long as I've been a serious student of writing, so it is an immense honor to open up its March/April issue and find my essay there. Feeling a bit out of my league, to tell the truth. But happy, too. And reflective. There are so many paths we can take, and today I'm just grateful that mine has led me here.

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I'm no serious student of writing, but I love to write and know what it is to be a serious student, so this is quite an achievement.

    Best of all, your dozen pages were meaningful to you, and you're happy with your path. Who could ask for more?

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  2. Congratulations, Emily! Delighted to hear this news, and a sign of things to come. Your words deserve to travel more widely, so it's wonderful to see these setting out on their journey. Enjoy...

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  3. Please know that one reader and fellow grad on the tenth floor of an apartment building in midtown Manhattan is beaming high-intensity happiness rays laced with satisfaction and admiration out the window toward the west. I am so happy for you, and not for nothing, I adore the cover of your issue! (YOUR issue!!)

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  4. Many congrats! An achievement and honor you've worked hard for and well deserve!

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  5. Wonderful to see in print, Emily. Warm congratulations!

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  6. Wonderful to see in print, Emily. Huge, warm congratulations! Let's bring your issue out for a celebratory drink this spring ?

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  7. Thanks, everybody. I love having your voices here.

    Shoreacres: Welcome! (Or "hi!" depending on how long you've been reading along. :)

    Julian: So kind, as always.

    Suzanne: I KNOW! Also, I've thought of you often through this process. Did you ever think the actual magazine was something you'd never see? I knew about the publication for over a year, so the wait was at time torturous. :)

    Erin: So appreciate your support.

    And Jen: Yes!

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  8. I love your title, The Geography of Sentences. I never thought about the geography of a good sentence, but it doesn't stop with the end punctuation; instead, it brings us somewhere new. Congratulations on your achievement - very cool!

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  9. Congratulations! And I'm not even one bit surprised. You are not out of your league in the least bit. There is not one doubt in my mind that someday you will be read far and wide. And I won't mind one bit saying I told you so. Wishing you well, and hoping your dreams never touch the ground.

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  10. Thanks, SPT. Here's another word-nerd admission: I remember exactly where I was when that title came to me. I likes it, too.

    And Bill, here's hoping you have a bit of the fortune-teller mixed in with your generous soul. To the road that leads up!

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  11. Congratulations Emily! Your writing is always appreciated by many people. It is a wonderful achievement to be published by a respected journal. Keep sharing your talents with all of your followers.

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  12. You anonymous posters always leave me with a bit of mystery tingling in my bones. :) Thank you, whoever you are. And thanks for reading!

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  13. Congratulations, Emily. You possess a strong writing voice that stands out. That coupled with your passion for the craft will take you far.

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  14. Thank you, Audrey. Much appreciated!

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  15. It's a terrific article, Emily, and useful to both prose and poetry writers. I will soon be adding a post about it to my blog.

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  16. It's a terrific article, Emily, and useful to both prose and poetry writers. I will soon be adding a post about it to my blog.

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  17. "Useful" is one of the best compliments I could receive for an essay like this. Thank you, Diane. And thanks so much for reposting! I'll hop over and check it out soon.

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  18. Here's a link to Diane's wonderful post about "The Geography of Sentences." Glad to know it's helpful to poets, too!

    http://dianelockward.blogspot.com/2012/03/do-you-dare-talk-about-syntax.html?showComment=1332113493053#c7772018244975778219

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