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“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares


“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant


“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus


“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction


“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper

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The Write-A-Thon has come and gone, as has Labor Day Weekend. I didn't get out as much as I hoped, but I did finish 15 pages of the novel this weekend. It's not new that I have good discipline, although sometimes it takes me an hour or so to really get started, to stop reading the news on the Internet, to stop fiddling with iTunes, looking for the perfect writing soundtrack, to feeling confident with the amount and type of snacks I've brought upstairs.

P and I were discussing the writer's colony idea this weekend. She is vehemently against and thinks it's a waste of money, especially since my output's been pretty good, regardless of the time I actually spend writing. But I'm on the fence—so many people have come back from colonies and seminars with so much, and I feel like I may be missing out. But maybe not. Just like all writers don't need to get MFAs, not all writers need to do the writing festival circuit. I may be one of those—why change what works? What has been everyone else's experience with writing colonies?

I certainly don't like change, and I agree with a friend who, describing herself this weekend, said she hated change but adapted well. What's so hard about change that we can't consciously, bravely do it yet adapt well enough when it's forced upon us?

The great American movie year continued with Al Pacino's Dog Day Afternoon, one of my favorites, and the Amityville Horror, which was a terribly disjointed and working from a listless script. Even so, I love the gritty naturalism of the seventies. I also love the gritty realism in literature. Last night I finally cracked upon the new collected stories of Richard Yates. I wasn't a huge fan of Revolutionary Road, but as a short story writer, Yates is mostly unparalleled. There's such a seamless, natural current that runs through his stories. He doesn't force them anywhere; you don't see the scaffolding and set in the shadows. The diction and metaphor and description are so organic.

Thanks to all of you who donated to the Dzanc Write-A-Thon! You're so generous. I was proud to help Dzanc raise money, and I hope you are, too!