Countdown to Muse 2019: Impossible Writing by Michelle Seaton

The Muse and the Marketplace 2019 kicks off on April 5th at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. This year’s theme is writing in a time of upheaval — whether such upheaval is personal, political, artistic, or all of the above. In anticipation of the conference, we’ve asked Muse 2019 presenting authors to describe a time when it was impossible for them to write, but they wrote anyway. How did they do it? What did they write? Our next presenter in the series is Michelle Seaton, author of Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life.

This is the week in which writing is impossible.

The kids are home for school vacation and have the usual needs for rides, for craft supplies, for snacks and for answers right this minute. They have unusual needs as well, parallel parking practice, physical therapy, a trip to the basketball hall of fame.

But this is a lie. Every week is the week in which writing is impossible because of paid work and housework, because of Twitter and podcasts and daydreaming and fear. For me, writing time is always stolen from some imperative chore or from the time in which I might rest.

My stories are built one page at a time, or one paragraph, usually scribbled on the back of an old envelope or on an index card stashed in my pants pocket. You can build a hundred unfinished stories this way, but very few finished ones. And that has to be okay.

You can catch Michelle’s craft discussion, “Telling a Story with Your Nonfiction Book Proposal” on Friday, April 5th at 10:15am and “Spitballing...Returns!” on Friday, April 5th at 6:45pm at the Muse. For all the latest Muse news, follow #Muse19.

Michelle Seaton’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and The Pushcart Anthology among others. Her journalism and essays have appeared in Robb Report, Bostonia, Yankee Magazine, The Pinch and Lake Effect. Her essay, “How to Work a Locker Room” appeared in the 2009 edition of Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the coauthor of the books Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life (Harper Wave, 2018), Living with Cancer(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017) and The Way of Boys (William Morrow, 2009). She has been an instructor with GrubStreet since 2000 and teaches GrubStreet’s Memoir Generator class, a 7-month intensive class for students writing book length memoirs.

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