Quote of the Week

You can tell someone is beautiful by the attention you give to description. You should give that kind of love to everything you describe.—Janet Fitch

Photo of Janet Fitch signing a book at the AROHO 2013 Retreat.

Janet Fitch signs books at the 2013 AROHO Retreat.

I just finished reading White Oleander, Janet Fitch’s first novel, a bestseller that has been translated into twenty-four languages. My neighbor told me she read this novel ten years ago and still remembers it vividly. I said, “That’s because it’s vividly written. It’s a great story with interesting characters, and almost everything is described through the senses.” My neighbor said, “It reminded me of a Russian novel.” I said, “Well, Janet told us at the AROHO Retreat that she loves Russian novels. In college she studied Russian history.” My neighbor is going to read White Oleander again. I’m going to read Painted Black next.

This quote comes from “The Art of the Senses,” a master class that Janet Fitch led at the AROHO Retreat—an amazing class that gave me a renewed sense of writing.

Janet also gave a featured presentation to all of the women at the retreat. Kristen Ringman writes about that talk—and offers some cool writing exercises—in “Words of Wisdom” on her blog.

“The Word” is one of Janet’s favorite writing exercises. She starts with a simple word that she chooses at random and writes a short-short story—two pages, double-spaced—using that word at least once. Here’s a recent piece she wrote starting with the word bite. “The Word” is a great exercise to use for crafting scenes and stories. Janet used it to write White Oleander! I subscribe to her blog so I can read her short-shorts and other posts.

See more quotes about writing here.


  1. Page Lambert says:

    Barbara, what a great post with lots of interesting stuff! So great to revisit our time with Janet at AROHO. Lucky you taking her Master Class! Thank you for this.

    Page Lambert
    Connecting People with Nature. Connecting Writers with Words.