Rocks & Roots

Donna Salli

In-Laws, Outlaws, and Iowans: On What Calls Our Names

In-Laws, Outlaws, and Iowans: On What Calls Our Names

When I began working on my novel, “A Notion of Pelicans,” I was a newlywed, my husband’s roots being in Iowa. I’d had little sense of Iowa before marrying Bruce, apart from what could be seen from I-80, which I'd driven periodically when I lived out West. I wouldn’t...

A Bit Blue: Family Stories as Inspiration

A Bit Blue: Family Stories as Inspiration

It’s June, again, month of weddings, of so much hope and joy. My own wedding anniversary is in June, a day my husband and I observe quietly, more and more amazed as the years add up. But June is also a bit blue for me. It’s the month my mother’s father died. I was...

An Ordinary Day in July: What John Milton Taught Me about Writing

An Ordinary Day in July: What John Milton Taught Me about Writing

I learned to read from a Dick and Jane reader. I remember the chalky smell of the classroom, the confines of our circled chairs. Each word was breathtaking, the way it filled its page, and as the words began to come together to create sense—Oh! I was at the border to...

From Birds’ Eyes to a Bug’s Knees: On Writing and Introspection

From Birds’ Eyes to a Bug’s Knees: On Writing and Introspection

Have you spent much time—figuring out how you figure things out? I have. I do it by writing, following thought after unfettered thought, wherever it leads, then holding my breath and sharing. Sometimes all that introspection ends in a fiction. The generating event in...

The Elephant in the Room (Or, The Tap Dancing Writer)

The Elephant in the Room (Or, The Tap Dancing Writer)

I have a confession. I don’t have a ten-second “elevator pitch” for my novel. When people ask me what A Notion of Pelicans is about, what kind of book it is, I do a song and tap dance. I haven’t found a pithy way to describe it. Confession is a good word for me to...

My Grandmother’s Hair: On Writing, Hauntings, and Love

My Grandmother’s Hair: On Writing, Hauntings, and Love

What do you think about, when you think of your grandparents? When I think about mine, I remember the hours that I spent following them around their rock-strewn farms. Those were idyllic hours, and the memory of them is a hedge against the harsher realities of this...

Rock-faced root cellar

Donna Salli - Seated - Color

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