• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

Matthew Pitt on Making a Memorable Impression

In the 44th in a series of posts on 2017 books entered for The Story Prize, Matthew Pitt, author of These Are Our Demands (Ferry Street Books), discusses learning how to nail an audition—and how it applies to his writing.  In my life, I’ve been compared to a musical diva exactly once—and not because my singing was like buttah.It happened during final callbacks for a play I really wanted to take part in. Actually, there was one lone part for performers with Y chromosomes (this was at Smith College), and the play itself wasn’t the thing: What I wanted was to work with the professor directing the production. I’d heard he ran rehearsals with an improvisational mindset; that each exercise and read-through was spirited, challenging; that you could count on discovery each day.This professor gathered the lucky few who’d emerged from first auditions into a circle, gently describing what he hoped we’d aim toward that evening. Did we have questions? “I’ve got one, John,” I piped up (his name is John). I pulled a small, purple orb from my jacket. “Have you heard of this fruit? It’s a muscadine. My roommate from Georgia grows them in her yard and brought some back. It’s a form of grape, but what’s interesting is, you can’t simply chew it like a grape. The skin is too, well, tough. To eat one you have to pierce the skin, then suck the pulp and juice. It’s quite a process. And that pulp is delicious to us but poisonous to certain animals. Anyway, do you know it?”Streisand: A portrait of the artistas an ingenue“No I don’t,” John shot back. “But I do know Barbra Streisand’s first audition. Do you know Barbra Streisand’s first audition?” I shook my head. “Let me show you Streisand’s first audition.”*Wordlessly John moved to the wings, re-entered with an outsize wave (transforming our group into casting directors), and sauntered to stage center, where a folding chair awaited. While walking he pantomimed chewing invisible gum, mouth masticating extravagantly as if it belonged to a bovine. He peered at us quizzically, then himself, innocently (“Something the matter?” was the subtext). After giving a thumbs-up, he stretched the “gum” into a thin strand, rolled it, and plugged it under his chair. “Know why Barbara Streisand did that?” he asked. “Same reason you just told me that story. You know now I’ll never forget you.”Of course, he was right about my story then and continues to be, in those I tell today. Whenever I flip through a notebook, scouting for material with potential, something like Streisand’s entrance insists when I have an actual, active story in my sights, rather than some dull scrap capable of singing a few pretty bars back and little else. The rare notion in my notebook that nails its audition is the bracing one. The perplexing one. Such notes take many forms: a character wearing a predicament like an illusionist’s straitjacket; a tone chiming out misaligned from its setting; dialogue pledging to tell a secret, or better still, withhold it at all costs. The common denominator is that they somehow both conjure and contest a familiar melody, moving into uncharted waters and pitch that cannot be circumscribed. You know, like divas do in their renditions. There is an uncouth, maybe even unprofessional, quality to such notes. But their depths are obvious from one glimpse. So too is the sense, equally entrancing and aggravating, that it will take reams of artistic patience, and indirect and delicate methods, to access the fruit under the skin. These are notes, in theatre and improv parlance, that aim not to please, but push ahead: “Yes, and…”A postscript: Those callbacks were like no other auditions I’d been through before. They enlivened and exhilarated me. And…I didn’t get the part. But I did wind up with a future acting teacher in John, Tai chi coach, a man who brought me to Javanese puppetry, commedia dell’arte, and later, served on my creative thesis committee. John at first was hesitant about that last role, but I told him I wanted my fiction to improvise the same way he encouraged me to onstage. Awareness is awareness, no matter the form of art being enacted. After my thesis defense, on my way out the door, John entreated me to be sure and write to him.“Of course I’ll write,” I offered breezily.“No.” He gripped my wrist, a grip I still feel writing this sentence. “Not right away. Write me much later. Write me at the moment I would have thought you’d forgotten me.”I’d say more, but this moment seems to have moved into endings, a topic for another time. So dear, John, consider this your latest letter. I haven’t, I hope, forgotten any of it.*So far as I know, no recording exists of Streisand’s audition for viewing or confirming pleasure. But several accounts of it have been written, including one in a book by the late Michael Shurtleff. The consensus seems to be that the gum Streisand gnawed away at was imaginary.

"Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind."
Catherine Drinker Bowen

Random picks

  • To be a good writer, you have to be persistent and write every day. Writing is a profession that requires practice, practice and more practice! I have been writing professionally for over ten years but I didn't get going with this skill until high school.
  • Michelle Chan Brown's poetry collection Double Agent was selected out of over 300 as the winner of this year's Kore Press First Book Award.Runner-UpsMusic for Birds by Ali Lanzetta three stamens*seventeen syllables by Tamiko Beyer Nesting Papers by Christine Choi Anti-Portrait at Flashpoint by Cori A. Winrock
  • Do you outline before you write your novel or short story? Or do you have a freefall approach, allowing the shape to emerge organically?
  • Some students who have trouble writing essays might find that an outline helps. It provides the framework upon which the essay is built.
  • With so many people in the would suffering from tooth loss, modern dental implants have become a viable solution for restoring mouths and smiles. Most tooth replacements feel and look very authentic and act just as real teeth would. Here are some tips that patients need to know before they choose to have any work done on their mouths. Most artificial teeth are made out of titanium which can act as an artificial root for the tooth. The implant is bonded to the bone and will hold the new tooth securely in place. This allows patients to have confidence that their implants are not going to fall...

Recommended sites

Most recent titles

Fast fact about writing

Where, and by whom writing was first developed remains unknown, but scholars place the beginning of writing at 6,000