Author Archive | Sylvia Allen

The Conference

The AWP conference is the biggest writers’ conference in North America. It happens in a different city every year and this year it was in Portland, so I went. I asked my favorite fashion-maven Liz Smith for shopping help so that I wouldn’t show up at the conference in my jammies. I am fashion-impaired and […]

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My mother, Marguerite, was very bright, absurdly literate, pathologically insecure, and a poet. As a young mother she gradually became aware that her first and most loved child was a psychopath, and believed that recognition of his defect would destroy her life. She could lose everything she loved most, both her son and her husband. […]

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Mrs. Schultz’s

I was disappointed when I didn’t get to go to the writing conference in San Francisco last weekend, but it’s possible that I was even more disappointed that we didn’t drive down Highway 101. We were planning to do that to avoid the snow on the pass. I was so looking forward to visiting the […]

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Why Won’t They Talk to Me?

I thought it would be easy. Don’t we old people love to talk about our memories of the past? You generally can’t get us to shut up. Yet so far I have not managed to interview anyone at all. Why won’t they talk to me? I asked respectfully and carefully. “Nancy, I’ve so enjoyed your […]

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Interview Questions: St. Johns Memories

These are the interview questions for when I ask people for their St. Johns memories. What year were you born? Were you born in St. Johns? Or when did you arrive here? Have you lived here all your life? Or where else have you lived, and at what ages? Where are your parents from? When […]

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The Interview Strategy

For that perfect day job that I recently quit, I became adept at interviewing people. I learned how to prepare a detailed, thorough list of questions in advance. I learned how to keep the interviewee happy about talking to me, and how to control the conversation so the person doesn’t wander off into long stories […]

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