ARCHIVE FOR Michelle Seaton

The Great Paper Purge

Are your shelves bending under the weight of unread books? Are your files bulging with research for stories yet to be written? Do you have boxes or piles of old notebooks in the corner of every room? Every time you encounter a new anecdote or historical fact, do you say aloud, “I can use that,” as you reach for paper and pen? If so, I can relate. Writers are natural collectors—or hoarders, perhaps

November 12, 2014 | Michelle Seaton

Craft Advice Inspiration

The Power of Empathy

We’ve completed week three of the Dorchester class of the Memoir Project. Like Dorchester itself, the class is mixed racially and in many other ways. Some of the 15 students have advanced degrees and others don’t. Some grew up in the south and moved to Boston, while others were born and raised here. Some are very outgoing and love to share their work, and others are more reticent. Each week I hand out three or four writing prompts at the beginning of class and, and later some of the students read aloud a few paragraphs of what they’ve written in their notebook.

October 8, 2014 | Michelle Seaton

Inspiration

A Prompt from the Memoir Project

Later this month, the Memoir Project heads to Dorchester, where we have 16 students ready to take their first writing class. This may be the final session of the Memoir Project, a series of classes that was created in 2005 with the aim of offering free writing instruction to senior citizens in every Boston neighborhood. The Memoir Project represents a collaboration between Grub Street and the City of Boston, and in the past nine years, we have taught in 17 neighborhoods and conducted one session in Cantonese and another in Spanish

September 10, 2014 | Michelle Seaton

Different ways to learn to be a better writer

On Finding That Balance Between Work and Work

My family and I are renting a house in Maine for the week. It’s a cottage that sits on the property of a working farm. On the first morning of our visit, we met Shep, the border collie who lives at the farmhouse and on most days moves the sheep from one paddock to another. The farmers told us that on the days he doesn’t get to herd the sheep, the dog can be a handful. He’s just a year old, and has a puppy’s silliness mixed with an adult’s sense of purpose.

August 13, 2014 | Michelle Seaton

Craft Advice Different ways to learn to be a better writer Inspiration

What’s So Bad about James Patterson?

By Michelle Seaton

I was walking on the beach Monday with my son, who is 12, and apropos of nothing, he asked, “What’s so bad about James Patterson?”

I had no real answer. I don’t remember ever talking to him about James Patterson or feeling any emotion about the writer.

“Well, what books does he write?” my son asked.

I had no answer for this, either. I reached for some titles and came up with nothing at first.

July 9, 2014 | Michelle Seaton

Craft Advice The Writing Life