Kroeker & Craig’s “On Being a Writer,” chapter 3

Chapter 3: Surround

“All I was writing about was motherhood and marriage during those first few months. Where had the rest of my life gone?”

These words are from Charity. Her words struck me, even though our situations are different. (She’s been in this marriage/motherhood thing for a couple of years, where I’ve been in it for almost a couple of decades.)

Over the last two years or so, I’ve written about anything other than marriage and motherhood here. I’ve written about my dogs, about other people’s books. I’ve written some poetry. I’ve put The Rest of My Life has front and center. It’s my way of saying, “Hey, chaos. You are not everything. There is beauty everywhere.”

Like Charity’s husband, mine reminds me of who I am. He remembers my “before.” A lot of times he knows what I need more than I do, like, “Hey, honey. Why don’t you put away your work and let’s go to a winery and sit outside and listen to music.” And he doesn’t even like wine.

Later in the chapter, Ann mentions “Essays of E.B. White.” I really need to get that book! My poetry buddy, Nancy Franson, gave me another collection of his essays, “E.B. White on Dogs,” which I loved. My columns are essentially essays, and E.B. White is the master of the essay.

And this, I thought, is how I’d like to write.

Me, too, Ann. Me, too.



  1. I just finished chapter three. I am realizing that I just need to take the time to focus. In the midst of everything else, take a moment to write down the odd reflection, that short snippet, a small haiku…and in this I am ramping up to take more time to work on a fiction that is flowing through my brain. Some of it is already on paper. It has involved a lot of research. As a result of being more open about my intentionality with my friends, one has suggested a group here in Tulsa that gets together regularly. Tomorrow night’s speaker, is a mystery writer who is speaking about research. Oh happy day!
    It is fun to see others processing through Ann and Charity’s book.

  2. 😀 Agreed on the focus.

  3. Sarah and Megan – I could use a little of that focus myself!

    I am reading E.B. White’s collection of essays now, and I agree with Ann. I want to write like that too.

    There’s a balance between writing what we already know (the chaos swirling around us!) and writing what we want to know, what is simply called “research” or even simpler “exposure.” I get stuck between those two sometimes, which is why focus would be a really great idea!

    • Charity, do you remember when we went to see Scott Russell Sanders and he read from *his* essays? I said the same thing: “I want to write like that.” And I do. Maybe as much as I want to write like E. B. White. Come to think of it, could be interesting to compare the two.