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Tell It Slant, Third Edition, 3rd Edition by Suzanne Paola, Brenda Miller

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3

“Taking Place”: Writing the Physical World

If you live in a place—any place, city or country—long enough and deeply enough you can learn anything, the dynamics and inter-connections that exist in every community, be it plant, human, or animal—you can learn what a writer needs to know.

—GRETEL EHRLICH

I am writing about the first place I remember living, casting around for a way to write about it that fits in with what I’ve learned is acceptable in the literature of place. Elizabeth, New Jersey: people who know the city shudder and mention the rows of smokestacks craning along the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. I spent my early years there, and along with a rickety shore bungalow, it’s the place I have the most visceral childhood attachment ...

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