Finds for Writers

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Most Fridays the Practicing Writing blog shares writing and publishing resources, news, and reflections to peruse over the weekend. But it’s been an excruciating week for so many of us. And frankly, I’ve paid next-to-no attention to garden-variety news from the writing and publishing spheres.

On Wednesday, however, I received an email from Facing History and Ourselves, a Boston-based global nonprofit organization that I’ve admired for many years. The email introduced a “mini-lesson” titled “Processing Attacks in Israel and the Outbreak of War in the Region.”

The resource isn’t perfect. (What resource is?) But one of its segments impressed me as something that, though intended for educators and students, could be clarifying for writers as well, in our work and in the rest of our lives. It’s a section titled “Avoiding Antisemitic and Islamophobic Tropes in Discussing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

Screenshot of text published beneath "Avoiding Antisemitic and Islamophobic Tropes in Discussing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." Text taken from the website linked within the post.

First, a quick apology: I messed up the settings for yesterday’s “Jewish Literary Links” post on My Machberet, so it ended up going out to Practicing Writing subscribers instead. I apologize for any confusion/inconvenience. Frankly, though, I wonder how I manage to avoid making that mistake more often (and, correspondingly, sending My Machberet posts to Practicing Writing subscribers sending Practicing Writing posts to My Machberet subscribers—AARGH!).


  • You’ll find ageism, a low-res MFA program, and much more in this essay by Geri Modell published by Roxane Gay’s The Audacity.
  • “When Covid struck the Wolitzers, Meg and Hilma bonded by creating a book. Let them tell you about it.”
  • Congrats to the litmags that have received the latest Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes. As Publishers Weekly reports, those three print magazines and two digital publications are “taking home a combined total of $144,000 in funding.” (Which makes me hope that just maybe they’ll all soon become both free-to-submit AND paying venues for the writing community.)
  • Sometimes, “a passive verb makes the story.” (Tom Warhover for NiemanStoryboard.)
  • And there is, indeed, a fresh set of Jewish lit links posted on the My Machberet blog—the first for the new Jewish year 5782!

Recognizing that this is likely to be a difficult weekend for many, my wish is for it to land gently.

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6 thoughts on “Finds for Writers

  1. Maryah says:

    I’m sorry, but this is going to irk me about Warhover’s micro-essay: The verb “was” is not a passive verb. He skipped right over an actual passive verb, “were killed,” to mislabel a past tense verb as passive. His observations on the tragedy of the simple “was” in this case are accurate and compelling, but the whole grammatical premise is wrong!

    I recognize that not every writer is an ESL teacher and linguistics PhD student like me, and I recognize that so-called “grammar Nazism” (a.k.a the “alt-write”) is a manifestation of actual white supremacy culture, and not a good look most of the time, but if you’re going to build a whole essay around a concept of prescriptive grammar … could you at least fact-check that central concept…?

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks for pointing this out, Maryah.

  2. Jean F says:

    Erika, It would be helpful if you noted which articles require subscriptions to the publications they are in (and what those publications are). I would have liked to read the Wollitzers’ story, but the Washington Post wouldn’t let me in.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Jean, I apologize—I thought that I had indeed indicated it was a WaPo piece, as I did with the other items listed in the post. I’m sorry for that oversight. As for the paywall, I definitely don’t post anything that’s completely inaccessible to non-subscribers (even if I am a subscriber). It’s been my understanding that everyone should be able to access a certain number of free articles each month for WaPo:

  3. Lovely mutual interview with Hilma and Meg Wolitzer. Thanks for posting it, Erika. I have sent it out to several of my friends who’ve read the recently issues book of short stories. I read a few, the last one, based on real life, is terrific and heart-breaking.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      It’s definitely on my tbr list, Michele. Appreciate your comments.

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