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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    It’s the Fourth of July this week, which is America’s version of a Summer Solstice extravaganza. We set off fireworks, eat too much barbeque, take a long weekend to look around at our loved ones, recognize their faces, and remember why we’re here.

    So let’s talk about four ways writing—because we are all writers here—reminds us we’re alive:

    1. It grounds us in the experience of living

      Storytelling is just scenes—thrilling, fascinating, important scenes in concrete, realistic detail. Where do we get the detailed material for these scenes? From being alive.

      And every time we read or write such a scene, we get to live in multiple layers. Our lives are richer, more full of material. . .more vividly about living.

    2. It makes sense out of the life trajectory we’re traveling

      The meaning of stories is derived from the juxtaposition and order of the scenes. And that juxtaposition and order creates a trajectory—carrying the characters through their experiences toward their Climax, a trajectory that makes sense.

      Every time we read or write such a series of scenes we get to live through a meaningful trajectory. And meaning matters to us. We are creatures who long for it all to make sense.

    3. It keeps us awake to the relationships that give our lives meaning

      Of course, scenes have little to offer us without characters living them. And those characters have relationships: with each other, with their environments, with themselves. With us.

      Life alone in a single skull is lonely. We need each other to make the struggle of this mortal coil worthwhile. Even hermits need to know other people are out there. We read for the sake of the human connection between characters, between characters and themselves, between reader and characters, between reader and author.

      Particularly those of us who write.

    4. It transcends our familiar life through its sheer familiarity

      And that is the mystical in this earthly existence. Because when you take real detail, trajectory, and human connection and put them all together. . .you get epiphany.

      I mean, here we all are out here on this planet, doing what we have to do to survive—waking up every day, cooking, eating, working for shelter, working for protection from the elements, working to raise our families and care for our elderly and each other.

      At the same time, we’re searching for the clues in that existence that show us why it matters. What are we doing here? How did we get here? Why do we work so hard and suffer so much to stay here? (Years ago, I asked a friend this, and she answered without a second’s hesitation, “To rent videos.”)

      Storytellers give us that. Writers, especially, give us that. Because writing is an extremely detailed and complex and layered form of storytelling. And all those details and complexities and layers come. . .straight out of real life.

      Illuminating what life really is.

    You are here as a writer to add, to life in general, your extremely specific experience of living.

    So we can all live as fully as humanly possible.



    “The freshest and most relevant
    advice you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Writing Fiction

    The Art & Craft of Writing Stories




12 Responses to “4 Ways Writing Reminds Us We’re Alive”

  1. Wow. This is outstanding, Victoria. One of those pieces that expresses how I feel, but have never been able to articulate. Thank you, and have a great Independence Day!

  2. Thanks Victoria – #4 really resonates with me – lovely list all together.

  3. Thank you for this. It articulates what I feel about my……vocation? calling? passion? drive? Someone once asked me if it is hard to be a writer, whether it demands a lot of discipline etc. My response was instant and from the gut, “it would be much harder for me not to write. It is not a creative exercise, it is a drive.” Now I can explain, just a bit more clearly, why that is so for me.

  4. What an uplifting, affirming post–thank you!
    I just received your book in the mail yesterday…I’m looking forward to taking a look and seeing how it compares to the other writing how-to-ish books on writing that I already have. If I know nothing else, it’s that I still have plenty to learn about writing…

  5. Victoria said on

    Melissa, you’ll have to let me know what you think, okay?


  6. Thank you for giving me permission to be grounded in the here and now 🙂 lovely blog entry! It was a fabulous breather and a relief.

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

  7. tracy peterson said on

    Thank you. I have been trying to get myself back into writing.

  8. Victoria said on

    You’re welcome, you guys!

    I know, I crack the whip over you all the time. But once in awhile we just need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and say, “This is why we do this.”

  9. It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by. Just have had a lot going on. As a consequence, some of my projects also got forgotten. This is a great post, and it reminds me why I get up every morning, and sit for hours on end, writing, blogging, and communicating with other writers.

    For me, though, it’s part escapism, and part wanting to share all the worlds that I get to experience in my head with others.

  10. Bravo. 🙂

  11. Great post; when something important happens in my life — one of my first thoughts is: how will I write about this. It really does help me process what has happened.

  12. […] 4 ways Writing Reminds Us We’re Alive, from A. Victoria Moxin. “So let’s talk about four ways writing—because we are all writers here—reminds us we’re alive.” […]