Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

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9781938126710: Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide
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Robin Black's path through loss and survival delivered her to the writer's life. Agoraphobia, the challenges of parenting a child with special needs, and the legacy of a formidable father all shaped that journey. In these deeply personal and instructive essays, the author of the internationally acclaimed If I loved you, I would tell you this and Life Drawing explores the making of art through the experiences of building a life. Engaging, challenging, and moving, Crash Course is full of insight into how to write and why.

From "Autumn, 1972, A Moment at Which I Became a Writer":

I sense, even now, the reverberations of a kind of shattering of my foundation and a quick rebuild, a change at a molecular level of who I understood myself to be. No longer someone who could look at another person without wondering what their life was like, but someone with a new curiosity about what people's stories might actually be.

Robin Black is the author of the story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this and the novel Life Drawing, both critically acclaimed, and both published in multiple languages. She has developed a loyal, enthusiastic following for her essays on life and writing, online and in such publications as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and O Magazine. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the house is always open for their three grown children.

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About the Author:

Robin Black's story collection If I loved you, I would tell you this, was published by Random House in 2010 to international acclaim, and was followed by her debut novel, Life Drawing in 2014. Robin's stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The New York Times Magazine, One Story, The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Freight Stories, Indiana Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I (Norton, 2007). She is the recipient of grants from the Leeway Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Sirenland Conference and is also the winner of the 2005 Pirate's Alley Faulkner-Wisdom Writing Competition in the short story category. Her work has been noticed four times for Special Mention by the Pushcart Prizes and also deemed Notable in The Best American Essays, 2008, The Best Nonrequired Reading, 2009 and Best American Short Stories, 2010. She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Review:

"Black is a writer of great wisdom."―Claire Messud, The Guardian

Crash Course is an exhilarating hybrid, part memoir and part literary analysis and part craft book―Black has created a new form, one that implicitly and explicitly explores how art and life are helically intertwined. Her essays address the death of parents and the vulnerability of children, what surprise and failure can teach us, and what love and courage look like, in life and on the page. Crash Course will be an oasis for writers at every stage, and for lifelong readers thirsting to explore the vortical intersection of life and art. Black is one of my favorite writers, and it is a joy to watch her craft the ultimate craft book. Black’s essays are beautiful and hilarious and searingly honest articulations of ‘questions both unavoidable and unanswerable’―the questions we have to keep asking, to go on living, and to go on writing.”
―Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“I wasn’t more than two pages into Crash Course when I pulled out a pen and started underlining like crazy. In these essays, Robin Black is simultaneously a wise teacher, an encouraging mentor, and that friend who gives you the real dirt on what the writing life is like. Crash Course is an invaluable resource and reassurance for any writer.”
―Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“Robin Black is an astonishing writer. There’s no one I trust more to offer wisdom about writing as both a craft and a way of life.”
―Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Crash Course is at once both deeply compassionate and full of a kind of Nabokovian complexity that turns discussions of craft into meditations on art and existence in general. Unstinting, unsparing, and ferociously honest, this book reassures in a way that empty reassurances never could. Black has stared into the writing life’s darkest abysses and come out triumphant, full of authentic wisdom that actually inspires. Crash Course has the power to give you a precious gift: to pick you up and make you want to get to work.”
―Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

Crash Course is not only one of the most entertaining and insightful books on writing I’ve ever encountered, it’s perhaps the most useful. It wasn’t long before I started jotting down, in the table of contents, the people I needed to share each essay with―the colleagues and students I needed to grab by the collar and say, ‘Look, here it is! That very thing you’ve been needing to read: She went and wrote it!’ ”
―Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House

Crash Course is the book that should be in the hands of every writer, aspiring or established. It is packed with such wisdom, humor and raw power, I know I will keep returning to it. Robin Black has had the courage to rip open her soul and reflect upon a life’s experience, and the unflinching generosity to share it with us.”
―Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of The Golden Son


"Black is a writer of great wisdom." Claire Messud, The Guardian

Crash Course is an exhilarating hybrid, part memoir and part literary analysis and part craft book Black has created a new form, one that implicitly and explicitly explores how art and life are helically intertwined. Her essays address the death of parents and the vulnerability of children, what surprise and failure can teach us, and what love and courage look like, in life and on the page. Crash Course will be an oasis for writers at every stage, and for lifelong readers thirsting to explore the vortical intersection of life and art. Black is one of my favorite writers, and it is a joy to watch her craft the ultimate craft book. Black’s essays are beautiful and hilarious and searingly honest articulations of questions both unavoidable and unanswerable’ the questions we have to keep asking, to go on living, and to go on writing.”
Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

I wasn’t more than two pages into Crash Course when I pulled out a pen and started underlining like crazy. In these essays, Robin Black is simultaneously a wise teacher, an encouraging mentor, and that friend who gives you the real dirt on what the writing life is like. Crash Course is an invaluable resource and reassurance for any writer.”
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

Robin Black is an astonishing writer. There’s no one I trust more to offer wisdom about writing as both a craft and a way of life.”
Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Crash Course is at once both deeply compassionate and full of a kind of Nabokovian complexity that turns discussions of craft into meditations on art and existence in general. Unstinting, unsparing, and ferociously honest, this book reassures in a way that empty reassurances never could. Black has stared into the writing life’s darkest abysses and come out triumphant, full of authentic wisdom that actually inspires. Crash Course has the power to give you a precious gift: to pick you up and make you want to get to work.”
Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

Crash Course is not only one of the most entertaining and insightful books on writing I’ve ever encountered, it’s perhaps the most useful. It wasn’t long before I started jotting down, in the table of contents, the people I needed to share each essay with the colleagues and students I needed to grab by the collar and say, Look, here it is! That very thing you’ve been needing to read: She went and wrote it!’ ”
Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House

Crash Course is the book that should be in the hands of every writer, aspiring or established. It is packed with such wisdom, humor and raw power, I know I will keep returning to it. Robin Black has had the courage to rip open her soul and reflect upon a life’s experience, and the unflinching generosity to share it with us.”
Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of The Golden Son

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