In these highly personal essays and powerful tales that verge on memoir, Merrill Joan Gerber opens to us her life and work as a writer. She is candid and unflinching in revealing the truths and inventions of a writer's vision and the use of life as the raw material of art. Her personal essays range widely, from the mysteries of love and marriage to painful encounters with suicides and family deaths. Gerber writes of her apprenticeships with celebrated writing teachers Andrew Lytle and Wallace Stegner and recounts her ghostly (and ghastly) experiences during a month at Yaddo, the famous retreat for artists. Gerber includes three pieces in the book - originally published as stories - that blur the line between fiction and memoir, demonstrating her contention that the deepest secrets in life beget the most passionate fictions.