Words, Words, Words

In the writer’s art, words are our paint, our clay, our chords. But when we are not practicing the art of writing, we are still using words — to scream at each other, to promise, lie, compliment; word come at us from the TV, from menus, billboards, tax returns; they are present in the most unique literary achievement and the most mundane transfer of information. So: as a writer, how to keep words fresh? A good place to start, I think, is to consider their origins, to wander around the topic of words, beginning with their histories.

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Neela Vaswani is author of the short story collection Where the Long Grass Bends, and a memoir, You Have Given Me a Country. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, the ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal, the Nautilus Book Award gold medal, an Audie Award, and many other honors. She is also co-author of the middle grade novel-in-letters, Same Sun Here. Her fiction and nonfiction have been widely anthologized and published in journals such as Epoch, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. She has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, lives in New York City, and teaches at Manhattanville College's MFA in Writing Program and Spaldiing University's brief-residency MFA in Writing Program. An education activist in India and the United States, Vawani is founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library.

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