What We Do For Love

What wouldn’t we do might be the more accurate inquiry . . . The first frog appeared on the deck far above the lawn, a tiny green creature apparently lost. I relocated it to more hospitable turf. The second turned up in the screen room, which had to have been a trick for the little […]

What’s Next?

Tomorrow begins a two-day affair in which I will receive an honorary degree in letters from the University of Vermont, my new best friend. It’s a lovely honor meant to acknowledge a body of work, especially as it relates to my abiding interest in the creative process. The university has supplied details of what to expect, […]

How to Innovate

Happy accidents can set you off into new and dynamic directions, but intentionality is also a path forward and one more in your control. Consider this example. Music-video maker Chris Milk had begun to feel his medium, which includes YouTube, was stale, when he met up with web star Aaron Koblin who was also frustrated […]

Is the Postcard Still Worth Anything?

  Here are three postcard stories. Decide for yourself. 1. While a sick (now robust) friend of mine was going through cancer treatment, another friend sent him a handmade postcard every single day. He kept them displayed on the kitchen counter, and some of us sneaked a peak when we dropped off meals. Snooping is […]

Does Your Reader Trust You?

There’s a famous photo of Lyndon B. Johnson sitting despondently, with his head in his hands after he learned that, in a rare moment of editorializing, the venerable CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite characterized the Vietnam War as all but lost. For nineteen tumultuous years, millions of Americans had tuned in every night to hear […]

Taking Stock

This is the third look at the numbers. The firstwas at 6 months. The secondwas at 1 year.  This one is late at 2½ years. Choosing the metrics for it is never a value-free process, and collecting the data is an occupation, but even a loosely gathered set of facts can be revealing. At post number […]

A Writer Will Go Anywhere

These are raw notes. Unedited. Unshaped. Bricks for a later construction I may or may not build. The scene is a coffee shop, but not the kind you think. This is Amsterdam. Narrow place. Two seats in the far corner of the bar. Bar top is polished steel and dark wood burnished with the soft […]

The Best Thing that Ever Happened to my Writing

A number of things have helped my writing along, but best thing that ever happened was to stop caring so much.  This came about gradually. In fact it took a couple of decades. Rejection hastened things along. “No. Sorry. I’m afraid I’m not the right for this.”  “You have me stumped; I can’t do a […]

How to Write a Compelling Narrator

The more interesting the story, the better we enjoy the person telling it to us, but an irresistible narrator is a big part of what we like in a story. Here are some key things that contribute to the creation of an unforgettable voice: 1. The compelling narrator is as complicated as any person you […]

The Problem with the Spotlight

Some people find the writing life faintly glamorous, which can spark well-meaning curiosity. But for me, the attention can be crippling. Steve Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics—which spawned a sequel, movie, radio show, and a full calendar of speaking engagements—also sees a downside. According to an interview with Dubner in newobserver.com: “‘It’s not like I’m even […]

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