Personal Essay

Backstory: The Story Behind Chris Orcutt’s The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Between 2010 and 2011, I wrote over thirty short stories, many of which appeared in The Man, The Myth, The Legend or as chapters of…

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On the Virtues of Being Able to Write Anywhere

Compared to other novelists I know or have read about, I’m something of an anomaly: I’m a novelist who can write just about anywhere. While…

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Backstory: The Story Behind the Second Dakota Stevens mystery, The Rich Are Different — Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of the story behind The Rich Are Different, I described my experiences during 9/11 in Manhattan and the months following, and…

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Backstory: The Story Behind the Second Dakota Stevens mystery, The Rich Are Different — Part 1

The novel that became The Rich Are Different was written during the winter of 2001–02, over a year before I even conceived of the Dakota…

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Writing in Asian Restaurants

I’m writing this blog entry in one of my favorite Asian restaurants: Momiji in Rhinebeck, NY. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve been writing…

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Backstory: The Story Behind the First Dakota Stevens Mystery, A Real Piece of Work

A Real Piece of Work and the entire Dakota Stevens Mystery Series might never have happened were it not for a bad office chair. During…

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My Prodigiously Convoluted Yet Miraculously Productive Low-Tech Writing Process — Part 2 — With a Few Modest Writing Secrets

In the first installment of this piece, I described the first half of my writing process: Writing the first draft in longhand or on a…

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My Prodigiously Convoluted Yet Miraculously Productive Low-Tech Writing Process — Part 1

I’m writing this blog entry on my latest piece of low-tech equipment, an Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter. All told, I now have six typewriters: •…

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Backstory: The Story Behind Perpetuating Trouble

The opening sentence of Perpetuating Trouble is absolutely true: “I was told to write this book by a pair of alien girls.” That incident with…

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Do Less, Achieve More

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of positive activity regarding my latest book, my memoir of the writing life, Perpetuating Trouble. But what…

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My new low-tech baby: The Olivetti Lettera 32.

Being a Novelist Isn’t a Job, It’s a Lifestyle

Back in December, after having completed the first draft of a 550,000-word, 1,600-page novel, I took a nearly month-long vacation (my first in years). For…

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Perpetuating Trouble: I’m Livin’ the Dream! Or Am I?

I’m pleased to announce the release of my personal memoir about the writing life, Perpetuating Trouble. I’ve been working on this book on and off since…

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Chris Orcutt walking in Vermont's Green Mountains, photo by Chris Orcutt

Only Have Time for Essentials

“At 46 one must be a miser; only have time for essentials.” — Virginia Woolf, diary, 3/22/1928 I stumbled upon this quotation earlier this week….

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The Night Before the Night Before Christmas

’Twas the night before the night before Christmas, And all through this writer’s head, Not a bad thought was stirring, not even dread. The writer…

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"Rejection": A collage by Chris Blanc.

Chris Orcutt's Barbaric Yawp

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass THE OTHER DAY, I wrote that I was going to “take it…

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