Redefining north.

Writers on Writing #2: Molly Bonovsky Anderson

Writers on Writing #2: Molly Bonovsky Anderson


Un-Blogging about the Non-Craft of Sorta-Writing If I had it my way, a blog would be a light sled made from a hollowed-out log, designed to skim across pond surfaces without causing ripples.

“How was your weekend?”

“Oh, it was great, I went night-blogging. The frogs were out in full chorus.”


That isn’t even a scene that would play out. I don’t engage in water sports at night, or even by day. There’s other stuff I don’t do—including wanting to write about writing.

“Tell us about your craft.”

Like, toaster cozies? I don’t craft, but my mother makes bowls out of melted record albums. I wish she would have asked me if I ever wanted to listen to the Bangles again before she did that.

I guess I’m just not comfortable talking about how I do it—because I don’t really know how. I can only say why I do it.

When something absurd happens, it bothers me if no one else sees it, or thinks it’s funny. So I have to get it down and look at it, to see if it’s me, or it’s them.

For instance, a trailer-park dweller in my neighborhood had this fantastic pair of fiberglass bears flanking their outdoor Air-Conditioning unit, and I admired them on daily walks. One day the things were busted—I mean demolished, in a million pieces, and I wondered, what kind of cretin would bust somebody’s bears like that? I had to write it down, think my way through it, try to internalize what that homeowner must have felt when those bears got smashed, or what made the smashee go apeshit on somebody’s lawn ornaments.

Or the life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary in my neighbor’s back yard. What’s that all about? Or the racist comment this lady made in the liquor store where my husband works, or how I watched three girls navigate traffic no better than the proverbial chicken crossing the road, narrowly escaping the grill of a speeding Escalade, or that adults who should know better still chew gum with the audible, fevered lust of a mouth-breathing newborn suckling life-force from its mother’s breast? These things must be examined, and if not explained, at least documented. I don’t want to forget how bewildering, unjust, annoying, fascinating and sometimes wonderful and beautiful these things were in that moment.

So that’s how I write, I guess. Stuff weirds me out and I put it down. As for the how—if you read a lot, you know that certain words sound good together and others don’t, and that some things are important and others aren’t. Sometimes, a lot of times, you’re wrong, and people tell you, and then you fix it. And then you still might be wrong, but you try to make it right. That’s about it.

Crafting a sweet blog from Douglas fir sounds a lot more interesting. I won’t be doing that either.

Molly Bonovsky Anderson's story "Apache Clouds" will appear in the Issue 33 of Passages North, due out in January 2012.

Writers on Writing #3: Karen Hays

Writers on Writing #3: Karen Hays

Now accepting spoken-word poetry submissions!

Now accepting spoken-word poetry submissions!