Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#DedicateYourNoTrumpVote

As soon as the dedications started pouring in, it became my job to read heartbreaking, resilient, transcendent stories. Within two days, we'd had over a quarter of a million people visit the site.

Bestselling literary powerhouses like Pam Houston, Jodi Picoult, Pulitzer-prize-winner Richard Russo, National Book Award winner Jeanne Birdsall, and award-winning poet Erin Belieu have offered us incredibly moving dedications. 

Ed Clark is haunted by murders that rocked the black community of his childhood in the 70s; Chantel Acevedo gives tribute to the America she loves; Heather Nicholson warns us about a reemerging racism; Adrienne Su explains racists bullies of her childhood and its echoes in the Trump campaign, and Kerry Neville reminds us of the horrific history that accompanies calling a woman "crazy." 

And there's an anonymous dedication that will rip your heart out. 

Take a look. There's beauty and ugliness and heartbreak and hope ... 






Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Call to Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote

Three days ago, I wrote a simple Facebook post and, at the end, I dedicated my No-Trump vote. It's been shared over 950 times with almost double the amount of likes. It struck a chord. Dave and I are inviting others to join us; we're building a website Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote where we will collect submissions and post dedications. Who's already in? Two Pulitzer prize-winners, a National Book Award winner, a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Special Forces, New York Times bestselling authors and award-winning poets....

But we are also looking for people from various walks of life, a diverse range of experience and points of view, those with a story to tell and a dedication to make.

We’d like to hear from you: a dedication to someone you love, maybe someone who's gone but fought hard for a better world while here, someone who's young and needs a better future, a Civil Rights movement or hero, well-known or overlooked, your neighbors, your friends, your ancestors... someone from one of the many, many groups that Trump has personally attacked.

We’d love to read your submission – from a few sentences to a full story.

You can message me on Facebook. (Even if it says that it won't go to me directly, I will find it.) Or you can write us through my juliannabaggott website.

IMPORTANT: We will collect the essays as we build the site so we are asking that you don’t share them on social media until we post them -- which will start soon. But obviously once the initiative is fully underway, we'll want people to share or participate by adding your own dedication on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat ...

When you send your dedication, include a short bio of yourself, too, along with a photo.

If you'd like to remain anonymous, we can work with that.

You can share this post.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Let me tell you something ...

Dave and I had been married a while when he made an off-hand comment -- I don't remember what exactly -- but I realized that I'd never really explained what it had been like growing up as a girl, the number of times I'd been really physically afraid that a man was either going to kill me or rape me. I told him stories, one after another. I told him the stories that I grew up with as a girl, that were passed down to me from the women in my family. I told him about the stories in my neighborhood, my schools, things that happened to friends of mine (without revealing names he might know), teammates, girls I didn't know but we all had heard... Things that happened in parks, swimming pools, basement parties, a train, a bar... I'd never told him because it had never really dawned on me to; I was lucky -- by every measure, compared to most women I knew. But when a man threatens a woman's life, women take it seriously. Because men kill women all the time. And little makes me feel sicker than when a man says that women are "full of drama." What's our drama? Men might think we've overreacted to something. What's male drama? A man's gotten drunk and beaten the hell out of a woman.
This Margaret Atwood quote can't be repeated enough. "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them."
So today's news marks the second time that Trump has made threatening remarks about his supporters shooting Hillary Clinton. While Trump's made it clear that he's shaken by people laughing at his small hands, he thinks it's okay to threaten a woman's life.
It's not. It's sick and it's twisted. And it's why this election is so personal to so many women in this country.
And what happens, on an international level, when he starts making these comments about other leaders -- our enemies and even our allies who hurt his precious feelings?
I Dedicate My No-Trump Vote to women, girls, daughters, mothers.

[More on how to participate coming soon.]

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cover Reveal!

Baggott's new book of poems will be coming at you this spring!

And the cover is ... [drum roll]









Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Day One of Class...

I might have said:

For the purposes of this course there are only two kinds of writers: those of who are of use to you & those who aren't.

I hope you'll write some wonderful work on purpose, but first let's just try to write well by accident.

And then I also might have argued that all fiction writing is accidental.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Round-Up of Stuff I've Recently Tweeted (of the writerly variety)

On Writing… 
I prefer straddling two worlds, the one we basically agree on as reality and one that I completely control called fiction. A compromise.
The more complex the story (& world) you're writing, the more advantageous to have a straightforward point of view. A complex narrative with a chatty narrator who will just state things, for example, is smart.
Language compression and early aggressive use of white space allows for real breadth of narrative.
Sometimes you have to print the novel/poem out; only on paper will that snarling you hear show its muzzle, its bared teeth.
"I want to build an artificial heart, but you're not going to go from zero to a whole heart overnight." Kit Parker, bioengineer #noveladvice

On Poetry…
this might be controversial, but, look, the names of some poetry presses make it hard for me to take them seriously, as they deserve to be.

On Reviews…
my fave subgenre within the Amazon Review canon: the reviewer critiques the person who recommended or gave them the book as a gift.

On Teaching…
Sometimes I refer to my younger self in class as "Young Baggott." As in, "Young Baggott would have obnoxiously argued against..."

Arguing Against “If You Can Dream It…” in 9 Tweets
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it," is missing a basic component, actual work. It's actually mean unrealistic & weird.
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it" undercuts the whole notion of dreams, often wonderful b/c they can't be achieved only dreamed.
The whole notion of "wanting something badly enough" is also a weird mind-game & toxic after failure.
It's not that you had strong competition or the industry is flooded or you need to work harder but your desire is intrinsically flawed?
People achieve things they weren't dreaming of, actually, often when they're engaged not in "wanting it badly enough" but the actual work.
Maybe this: dream unachievable things if you want & then devote yourself to the work at hand (probably b/c you need it).
If you'd asked me at 20 if I dreamed of publishing 20-some books, I'd have said no, of course not or I'd have ignored you b/c I was writing.
Visualization is something different. A box jump begins with imagining yourself on top of the box. It's powerful especially in sports.
I'd like to read an article that interviews a number of successful people who never really thought they'd be successful. #didntdreamit

Monday, August 22, 2016

Okay... so here:

Let's say you have a chunk of a novel that's not working. The story is in place, more or less, but the urgency or voice or the sentence-to-sentence chemistry is off. You don't need to change the story as much as you need to change how its told. What if, as a completely cocky exercise, you sit down and write the first paragraph of the novel as if it were written by Marquez then Aimee Bender then Michael Cunningham then Colson Whitehead then Stephen King then Atwood then Zadie Smith. [Insert your own author-picks here -- and, of course, specific books.] It's not that your work would end up sounding like theirs (what a lovely problem you'd have then) but you'd find, perhaps, a new way in -- a new and inspired way in.