On Language, On Sophisticated Style

I am an unabashed Language Freak. Word Freak. Sentence Freak. Grammar and Punctuation Freak. I am deeply in love with what William Golding called “that massive instrument” the English language. For me putting words down on paper is like playing a finely tuned piano. No wrong notes, please! My instrument is too precious to misuse.

Letter from London: Reflections on Writers’ Reputations, Graves, Love Affairs, Accents, and a Murder, in No Particular Order

Moving back to London requires minimal adjustment, it’s as easy (as a writer once said about revision, compared to first draft composing) as sliding into a bath of warm oatmeal. No culture shock save for the first instant of wondering why dogs and babies are driving cars; all you have to do is exercise a little preliminary caution crossing the street and you’re done. Or maybe some mild culture shock, over here in the Land of Other People’s Problems, to learn exactly what the tabloid media judges important. “Horror on No. 77!” shrieks the top headline in the Evening Standard, the free newspaper everyone reads on the Tube going home after work.

Risks and Revelations

Goddard MFAW faculty Victoria Nelson: The whole thing about risks is that you don’t know whether the risk is a good one or a bad one until after you take the plunge. That’s why it’s a risk.

Oscar Wilde’s Wild Letter

GoddardMFAW faculty member Victoria Nelson on Oscar Wilde: Unbidden, a voice rose inside me: Oscar, get over it… How honest are we writers when we deliver our version of a real-life story in our memoirs and autobiographical fiction? Do we tell the hard truth about ourselves as well as the other guy? Or do we, every now and then, use our art to justify ourselves and settle scores–we poor victims with better words?

Literary Life Tests

Goddard MFA Faculty member Victoria Nelson talks about literary life tests: the ones you face out there in the world after you graduate. “Pay attention to the outside cues…”

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