• Robin Martin

Maybe it’s because the kids are at the park with their aunties and I am sitting on the front porch with my feet up. It is a mild Sacramento afternoon and my spouse is snoozing in the hammock, my brother in law is plucking and picking at his banjo, once in a while singing an old bluegrass melody or whistling.

I’ve been reading a new anthology called The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House. I got an advance copy to review for the Sacramento Book Review. It includes essays by some of my favorite writers~ Dorothy Allison, Aimee Bender~ and some new favorites too.

But I’m creasing corners like crazy. Every sentence is magic and the dogears add that ahhh to the way the book holds open in my hand. Already it was a beautiful book, the pages feel like parchment, like an old notebook, and the edge appeared cut by pinking shears, lovely. I drew no lines, composed nothing in the margins, instead 100% consumer lifting it from the page and imbibing it.

Okay Okay. Enough of that. Here’s some of what I mean:

Dog eared: “You think the most important thing is that confident voice of that ‘I’ narrator who, let’s be clear, is really you when you were twenty-two, and they didn’t treat you right, didn’t fuck you right, didn’t love you right–Momma, first lover, Daddy, I don’t care who it was. But I want the story to burn me. I want the page to crisp my fingers.”                                     ~Dorothy Allison, Place.

Dog eared: “‘We have always made mistakes, but the greatest mistakes are the poems we have written.’ Perhaps the first and greatest impulse of poetry is to misstep, mistake, mishear. We apprehend the world in a way which is inherently suspect, and only though suspect language can we approximate that view. To mishear or to misread is to misapprehend. Perhaps, in that way, it is to see the world or the word for the first time.”

~D.A. Powell, (Mis)Adventures in Poetry

Dog eared: “Why were we given something as amazing as imagination if we’re not going to use it? Write what you know? As soon as you start writing, you realize you don’t know what you thought you knew. You have to apply your imagination even to your most cherished memories.”

~Jim Shepard, Generating Fiction from History and/or Fact

Author: Robin Martin

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  • “He told me not to worry about being him or being me. That if I learned how to begin everything I do or say with love, to fill my heart with it, everything would look different. That it doesn’t matter to be right.”

    One of the many reasons why I willingly spend so much time on Tanya’s memoir.

  • Thanks for contributing what looks like one of your dogears, Gordon. It is really a good one. Tell me about Tanya again…

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