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Brush with a Famous Writer

By Ann ConwayOctober 8, 2015

I was walking down a concourse in the Philly airport when I looked up to see the Famous Writer staring down at me. Actually at first glance I was sure I was looking at the British actor, Bill Nighy. But it was not. It was him, a well-known literary writer who had moved to Maine…

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The September Issue

By Ann ConwayApril 4, 2011

After a recent trip to a southern city where no one wears fleece, I took a moment to reflect upon my Maine mud season couture. (This involved a certain amount of sighing.) Things have gone downhill since I worked in public relations at a Boston hospital, when I dressed up every day. Now I work…

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By Ann ConwayDecember 9, 2010

Here in central Maine, the world has come down to bone. The songbirds are gone and crows, which poet Mary Oliver terms “the deep muscle of the world,” have taken over my street. The landscape seems empty; the ground, a carpet of desiccated leaves. One longs for the blanketing stillness of snow. The world, dark…

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Unstaged Irish

By Ann ConwayJanuary 8, 2010

My father was dead and I did not miss him. —Joe Queenan When I say I’m writing a book about my Irish American family (the reason I’ve transitioned to occasional guest posts for Good Letters), I receive reading suggestions. First on the list is usually Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, which, alas, I found unreadable. “Why?”…

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The Desert City

By Ann ConwayOctober 30, 2009

Until I get to the middle of the process—it’s horrific. It’s like I don’t know what I’m doing but I know how to do it, and it’s very strange. —Belgian painter Luc Tuymans, on the artistic process As I’ve noted before, I often struggle with writing, as I labor with the new life I’ve undertaken…

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Caught in the Light

By Ann ConwayOctober 8, 2009

“Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it.” —Simone Weil For most of my adult life, I’ve been resistant to allegiance—to people, to places. The latter may seem strange, since I’ve lived in northern New England on and off since 1972. In many ways, Maine’s iron…

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Credo Quia Impossible

By Ann ConwayAugust 31, 2009

My second favorite movie (my first is Gone with the Wind, which is embarrassing, but my tastes run to the lowbrow/popular) is The Third Miracle, a 1999 film starring Ed Harris. Its opening scene occurs during World War II, in an Eastern European country whose geography has been drawn and redrawn by the “will of…

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Nurse Jackie: Good, But Not Yet

By Ann ConwayJune 25, 2009

When did I stop feeling sure, feeling safe And start wondering why, wondering why Is this a dream, am I here, where are you What’s in back of the sky? From “Valley of the Dolls,” Nurse Jackie’s theme song “Showtime’s comedies…have the whole God-Is-Dead thing down to a science,” posits a June 7 Newsday review…

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To Write

By Ann ConwayMay 20, 2009

I find creative writing difficult. This is in contrast to my professional writing as a consultant, which I find, after twenty five years, relatively straightforward: if you’ve written one foundation report or federal grant, you’ve pretty much written them all. But real writing, as I think of it—including this blog—is another story. While I normally…

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Spiritus Mundi

By Ann ConwayApril 13, 2009

Recently, I attended an “Eco-Christianity” class at an area congregation. It was not for me. The minister who led it was well-intentioned, trying to bring the sacred alive. A dozen or so of us attended the first meeting—a couple who ran an organic farm, an elderly woman, a therapist. It was cold in the spartan…

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