Solitude and the Writer

Creative work—that miserable, wondrous, and mysterious achievement—requires large stretches of solitude. It’s fine to trawl the world for the bits and pieces that form our subjects and sentences, but quiet is the best state in which to sort out your mind, hear your thoughts, and synthesize. A state of solitude is where a writer realizes […]

The Temptation of a Great Line

The devil knows what he knows from getting older, and not from being the devil. No, I didn’t write it, although I wish I had. A Cuban friend said it to me and mentioned her grandmother as the source. But I think a lot of grandmothers had similar admonitions. Whatever your trouble—money woes? kids? cranky […]

Looking For Your Beating Heart?

There’s a great old house in the neighborhood, a massive, old money affair. Red brick and turrets, servant’s stairwells, hundreds of acres of prime lakefront, coach barns, farm barns, a carriage house, trails, gardens and wildlife sanctuaries, porches and stone beaches, greenhouses and a railroad not far, a private line that ran to the city. […]

The Writer and Obsession

Here is a measure of my personal experience with obsession: once with a man, once with a story, three times involving children, once involving a sibling. There are five things I can tell you for sure about obsession. 1. It can be fatal. That’s the nature of obsession. It consumes you. 2. It’s not a […]

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