Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

doctoredAn Evening Out

One evening this past week, my sister and I ventured out together for an author talk here in Manhattan by our family friend Dr. Sandeep Jauhar (Sandeep is married to a sister of one of my sister’s best friends). We looked on with pride while Sandeep discussed the issues at the heart of his latest book, Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician, and responded to questions from the audience.

I haven’t yet read the new book (but the copy circulating among our family members, pictured to the left, is now in my possession). But I did read (and admire) Sandeep’s previous book; you may remember the Q&A that I conducted with him in a long-ago issue of The Practicing Writer. (more…)

Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer


A Literary Offering

A few days ago, I received this message from Nancy Scott:

“I am the managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey. [Every] year we give away extra copies of the journal to a worthy creative writing program, either a non-profit or school short on funds that would appreciate such a donation. We will pay the postage for shipping. Interested parties can contact the journal at us1poets(at)gmail(dot)com. Our website is us1poets.com.”

If you’re interested, please do contact the journal directly. (I’m just the messenger here!)


Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Vive la France!


Before I earned my MFA, I earned a PhD. In history. In French history.

In fact, ever since my first middle-school French class, France and its language, literature, culture, and history have been a significant part of my life. So last week was hard. It was hard on Wednesday. And as a Francophile Jew who—to be completely honest—has been a little frightened of traveling in France as reports of anti-Semitic incidents have filtered back here (mainly in the Jewish press) over the past year or two, I found Friday very hard, too.

Rather than write anything “new” on last week’s events, I’d like to highlight a few of my past France and French-related writings. (A few, at any rate, that have a presence—if not complete accessibility—on the Internet.) (more…)

Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

imagesExercise Time!

All the New Year’s tweets and Facebook posts about resolutions began to swim together. But one lingered with me long enough to remember the point: Consider it an “intention,” not a “resolution.” I wish I could credit the person who shared this idea, because I love it. And it’s helping me manage a big writing intention of my own: daily writing.

Even if it’s only a few minutes per day, I am INTENDING to write briefly for myself each day in 2015. To help me get in/keep to this habit, I’m currently relying rather heavily on exercises and prompts.

One week in, and so far, so good! One of the poems I wrote after scanning this list of prompts may actually turn into something…someday. And the few hundred words inspired by Midge Raymond’s “Bad Habit” tip may be something I return to as well. (more…)

Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

I suppose this post could also be called “End-of-Year Notes from a Practicing Writer.”

I’m going to keep this short. Hope that bullet points are okay with all of you today!

  • I’m thinking of last year’s spotlight on Lisa Romeo’s wonderful “I Did It!” list idea. I’m thinking that I should work on my own “I Did It!” list for 2014.
  • I’m thinking of the seminar application that is my current “work-in-progress.” (3 essays required!)
  • I’m thinking of the post on “My Year in Jewish Books” that I’ve just published over on my other blog—and applauding myself for actually managing to meet my Goodreads challenge for the year.
  • How about you? What’s on your writerly mind as 2014 ends and 2015 begins?

    Happy New Year!

    Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

    Yer Out!

    The email arrived a few days ago. “Dear Erika Dreifus: Thank you for your application to NYFA’s Fellowship program.  We are sorry that we will not be able to award you a Fellowship this year. We received a record number of applications this year….” You know the rest.

    So now it is official: I have applied for fellowships unsuccessfully from the New York Foundation for the Arts in THREE genres: fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Now how many of you can say that?!

    three-strikes (more…)