For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing.

A cinematic exploration of the writing life by Francesca Lia Block, the bestselling author of the Weetzie Bat series of magical-realism novels, The Thorn Necklace offers visceral insights and healing exercises for the writer who creates as a way to process pain and adversity. Gently guiding the reader down the write-to-heal path, Block offers guideposts of awareness for writers, such as how to find a muse, channeling agony into art, putting chaos into order, ignoring the inner critic, personal perseverance, and thriving as an artist in a troubled world. The author also addresses the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences into the written word, and provides compassionate support to the reader for his or her own write-to-heal process.'

“In this lyrical and haunting meditation on the craft of writing, Block… cracks open her psyche and lays it bare in the hopes of inspiring other storytellers-to-be. Wise and inspiring, this is a must-read for artists of all stripes.”—Booklist **starred** review
 
“In the midst of untangling her own deep-seated vulnerabilities and dreams, the incandescent Francesca Lia Block shares the twelve questions that help shape her words; they will become essential for every writer in search of a light in the literary wilderness.”
JADE CHANG, New York Times bestselling author of The Wangs vs. the World
 
“With The Thorn Necklace, Block explores her life as an artist and shows us—through encouragement, compassion, and useful exercises—how to find and nurture our own creative selves. An inspiring read.”
EDAN LEPUCKI, New York Times bestselling author of Woman No. 17 and California
 
“Francesca Lia Block turns her unique punk-fairie style in a new direction in this fast-paced memoir of hope, disaster, magic, and sheer raw talent, mated with a down-to-earth approach to writing. This double dose of Block, as teacher and writer, is a combination sure to enchant and inform.”
JANET FITCH, New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander
and The Revolution of Marina M.
 
“The best art begins with the worst pain. In The Thorn Necklace, Francesca Lia Block shepherds us through the process that transforms wounds into words. The transformation's an alchemical one.  The prima materia of daily living becomes the base metal of the soul's gold. By turns personal, masterfully intimate, and practical, this book is a must for any writer who aims to get at the heart of all matters: the heart.”
JILL ALEXANDER ESSBAUM, New York Times bestselling author of Hausfrau
 
“To say Francesca Lia Block is a rock star writer would be an understatement. Her influence on a generation of authors, myself included, is immeasurable.It's the rare brilliant writer who is also a brilliant teacher, but she is both. I wish I could go to the University of Francesca Lia Block and get an MFA in FLB, but in lieu of that, I'm grateful we have The Thorn Necklace. What a gorgeous gift this book is. It goes on the section of my bookshelf where I turn when I'm stuck, and it lives alongside Stephen King's On Writing and Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. Francesca shows so beautifully that by writing your story, you can save your own life—and you may end up helping others in the process. She has certainly done this for many of us.”
SARA BENINCASA, award-winning author of Real Artists Have Day Jobs
 
“A moving memoir and a wildly helpful guide to fiction writing. Francesca Lia Block demystifies the creative process in a way that makes the world feel magical.”
CHRIS BATY, author of No Plot? No Problem! and Ready, Set, Novel and founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
 

You can preorder The Thorn Necklace here.

 

Much Love,

flb

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Photo credit: Teresa Flowers

I met my friend Jade Chang when she interviewed me for Goodreads. And like everyone who meets her, I was instantly charmed and wanted to be her best friend. A short time later she's taking the literary world by storm with her first novel. Here's what she had to say about it:

Flb: Tell us about The Wangs vs.  the World. What were some of your influences?
Jade Chang: Charles Wang is a Chinese immigrant who came to America and built a cosmetics fortune only to lose it all in the summer of 2008. The Wangs vs the World is about what happens to him and his family after that! There's a roadtrip across America and we delve into many different worlds, including fashion, finance, art, and standup comedy. The book really grew from my desire to write a different kind of immigrant story, that wasn't about immigrants or people of color struggling to fit in or who see themselves as outsiders. Instead, the Wangs see themselves as being absolutely central to both their own story and the story of America!

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Dear E formerly known by the name of L:

I’m leaving you. Cold turkey. There’s no other choice. You’ve been making me sick for the last three years and I didn’t even know.

You helped me through a divorce, the loss of two dogs, the near loss of my home, my mother’s cancer and death, illnesses, four surgeries, so many heart cracks.

You stole my tears, my pleasure, books I might have written. You might even have caused some of the illnesses I thought you’d nursed me through.

But I can’t regret my choices. I had small children to take care of. I was alone. I needed you.

There’s a pressure at the back of my head; my legs shake; my stomach aches; I disassociate. But this is different from the other times I tried to leave.

I have so many more tools now. The wise words that I’ve internalized from my therapist; the comfort of my new lover’s arms; years of yoga practice that’s taught me to endure challenge and discomfort; the Tara meditation with rose quartz beads, the mantra from my acupuncturist “Remember you are safe." I realize that 95% of the time my body thinks it's in danger even when nothing's wrong. These words calm it right away.  The 5% of time when I feel emotionally unsafe I can use the tools. I can remember that what my empathy, passion and ability to write are directly linked to my foundational fear.

Two things help the most: one is sleep. I allow myself naps now. My body knows it needs to rest while I release you.

The other is eating. I’ve come to believe that certain foods were making me sick. But it was really just you. Now I eat good fats for my brain. Avocado, olive oil, the eggs and ghee I used to avoid on a vegan diet, walnuts that used to sting my gums.  Kombucha and brown rice for vitamin b. Cacao and green tea and a little sweetening for stimulation. Korean food from the Farmers market—sage honey with fermented ginger, fermented garlic, hot miso broth, lotus root of the immortals.

I am going to wear colors now, not just black and white. I am going to read and re-read all the classic books instead of trying to keep up with all the bestsellers. I am going to listen to music again. Write a novel.

When I started to tell my daughter I was dumping you, she thought I was telling her she needed you, too. But I said she didn't. I told her to eat, sleep, talk to her friends if not to me. I reminded her that her fear is also her passion, her empathy, her energy. I remind her that she is safe.

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Last Saturday, Laura Lee Bahr and I held the "Rock Your Reading" workshop at the Fairy Cottage. Everyone read their work and flb gave notes.

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Then Laura coached on how to present to an audience.

Here are some tips:

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Hi loves!

Summer's in full swing and I hope you are surviving the heat and doing your thing with joy. Here are some pictures from the Cal Arts Summer Program interview I did with Bree Barton. It was such a pleasure to be surrounded by so many creative people. Thank you so much to everyone involved!

I read an excerpt from my novel Beyond The Pale Motel, check it out at: http://francescaliablock.com/books/entry/beyond-the-pale-motel-1-2

 

August will be a quiet month but here's some quick info on upcoming classes for September including a special deal on my online class beginning at the end of August!

xo

flb

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May Literary Salon

At the end of May, Laurel Ollstein and I held a gathering of fellow writers at her lovely home. I had the pleasure of teaching and then introducing many skilled authors who shared their stories. It was incredible to hear these writers read their work aloud.

I'm looking forward to working with more writers, both in person and online, this fall! Could one of them be you?

xo

flb 

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Hi loves,

Come join my lovely co-author Carmen Staton and me at Vroman's bookstore this Friday 22nd at 7 pm. We will be discussing and signing the Weetzie Bat cookbook! Fairies in the Kitchen features Dangerous Angels recipes such as My Secret Angent Lover Man's Guacmole and Duck's fig and berry salad. It will be an evening of recipe-sharing, chatting, food demos and more...

xo

flb

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Join the brilliant Sarah Herrington and me for an afternoon of yoga and writing. We will work to unite the mind and body. Through this conscious focus uncover and learn the narratives you hold within.

For more information on how to register: http://francescaliablock.com/contact

xo

flb

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A shout out to the lovely Linda Oatman High and the LAist. I had so much fun talking with you about my urban muse and writing for both adults and teens. The thought of my stories touching my readers is the true magic of writing...

Here is a snippet from the article:

"For me, love is the ultimate expression of magic and I am fortunate to be surrounded by it. I have also had my share of strange, inexplicable experiences that might be called magic by some, synchronicity by others," she says. "The key to seeing the magic is to stay open and aware."

xo

flb

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