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Carolyn See   Making a Literary Life  
Carolyn See  
Read an Excerpt from Making a Literary Life

Read an Interview with Carolyn See

 

Novelist, memoirist, critic, and UCLA creative-writing professor Carolyn See is "brilliant and funny, crabby and tender and wise" (Anne Lamott) "witty, practical, mordant, funny." (James Ellroy). Indeed, in Making a Literary Life, See is all that and more, as she distills several lifetimes' worth of experience as a writer into an accessible and charming how-to book for all you "only-in-my-dreams" writers out there.

See has been called a "great artist" with a "large soul", and there could be no better proof than this book, in which she guides you — just like the mother and grandmother she is in real life — toward making your interior life into your exterior life. As See herself admits, writing guides are like preachers on Sunday—there may be a lot of them, but you can't have too many, and there's always an audience of the faithful. So, while Making a Literary Life is ostensibly a "guide on to how to become a writer", it really isn't; it's a magical blend of writing and life strategies (send a "charming note" to someone you admire in the industry 5 days a week, every week, for the rest of your life; find the perfect characters right in front of you).

It is with sagacity, an inspiring sense of humor, and an abiding belief in the opportunities available to "ordinary" people living "ordinary" lives that Carolyn See sums up her life's work in this truly one-of-a-kind book. In fact, I can't think of a better endorsement of the almost intoxicating effect Making a Literary Life has on its reader than Ursula K. Le Guin's reaction: "If everyone who wants to be a writer would read this book there would be many more good writers, many more happy writers... what are you waiting for? Read it!"

-- Allison Heilborn
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  Photo credit: Marilyn Sanders

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