Fightin’ Words

I ran into a friend who is the co-founder and co-publisher of Seven Days, the weekly, independent news most worth reading in these parts. She said she had the worst publishing day in memory. And since it launched in 1995, a lot of water gone by as you might imagine, it seemed quite a claim. […]

The Writer and the Restless Mind

Which came first: the restless mind or the writing life? For this writer anyway, it was a mind like a swollen river that cascades with a ceaseless vengeance down a steep and rocky decline.  It refused to settle down and behave already. And it remains ever so. A romantic looks at this all-powerful surge, the […]

The Writer Cries Uncle

Anyone who’s ever come up against Mother Nature knows that she always wins, no exceptions. My place provides plenty of examples. The poison ivy will always best me, and every spring, I can count on gaping holes in my screen room from fierce winter winds. This spring, I also found the ceiling fan ripped from […]

How to Break a Scandal

Everyone knows this moment.  Something dishy, something trashy, some god fallen, principles tested, and the street full of speculation. If you, the writer, find yourself involved in this kind of story, something messy and dangerous, awkward and sad, how will you handle it? Ask yourself: Do you need to tell this story? Are you sure? […]

Questioning Assumptions

Popular lore holds that cats hate water, but it isn’t necessarily true. I’ve had three, and they have all imbibed from the tap, supervised the bath, and showed up when the garden hose was running. One routinely came home soaked from her forays, whether from roaming wetland, marsh or lakeshore, I’m not sure. She lived […]

Mere Beauty

Capture beauty on the page and it will enliven the work.  Engage the readers’ senses with your expressive details, your moods and textures, and you’ve got him where you want him. But give him too much of a good thing, and he will soon slow his pace and skip down the page in search of […]

The Art of a Great Line

I emailed a writer friend to congratulate him on the short story he sent along for my read, and he responded with a single line: “In Errachidia on the Western Edge of the Sahara; typing on an Arabic keyboard/ Will call later in the week, back Wed/ Thanks” Now, that’s the work of a good […]

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