Marissa Tinloy


A Better-Focused Lens

Last night I went to a reading at a theater in Santa Monica. My teacher, speaking to the entire audience, reminded me of the first task she assigned each quarter. To write a glimmer, one gets in and gets out. Most everything is concrete. There are few abstractions.

The Gift of Criticism

Image: Kelley MacDonald

Yesterday I had my Mid-Project Review for The Mark Program. Usually, I get so nervous in interview-type situations that everything becomes a blur. I become both energized and exhausted. It’s exciting and, at the same time, I leave bone-tired and not remembering half the things I’ve said.

Writing and Running

Image: Judy Evenson

Running is something that, like writing, I simply can’t put my finger on. It’s probably because it’s so precious, so close, something I love so much, that I can’t see it objectively enough to name why. I’m not particularly fast, I’ll never place in any category for any race, and I sometimes wheeze—but it makes me so happy. As author Benjamin Cheever says, I run “for the joy in it.”

Like–No, Love

One of the many, many things I love about writing is revision. In real life, off the page, I often struggle to discern how I truly feel and what I’m actually trying to say. I’ve been known to mess up a punch line, fumble a story told aloud or, worst of all, say things I don’t actually mean—which we all know doesn’t work out well for anybody.


This week, as I write about writing, it is important to me to write about Shannon. She was my seventh grade Core teacher, which means she taught English in addition to history and social studies. She taught me about the power of words. She also taught me to believe that I could be skilled at expressing myself through them. For the past three and a half years, Shannon, who is 43, has battled cancer, and I recently learned that she is now in hospice care.


“Pies, Pies, Pies” (1961), by Wayne Thiebaud.

This week, in literature and in life, I’ve encountered many reminders about humility.

Making It Matter

Artist: Brett Amory

In The Mark workshop last week, we discussed the relationship between scene and summary. A novel, Antoine told us, should strike the perfect balance of the two—showing and telling—as determined by the voice and world of the book.