Negotiating with the Muse

image via fourwindsapps.com One of the problems writers have, once they feel they have something to write about, is how to shape a story. The muse perched on one's shoulder will often flood the writer with insights, and the writer often feels the urge to cram all of those insights into one piece of writing. […]

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Listening to Life

  image via hollywoodreporter.com    Salvage The Bones, by Jesmyn Ward   I don’t remember why I bought this book. It probably wasn’t that it won the National Book Award for 2011; more likely that it’s about the Mississippi coast in the time prior to Hurricane Katrina. I have family living on that coastline, and […]

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A Few Wise Words

image via awpwriter.org The Writer's Chronicle magazine has become my "go-to" source for finding out how other writers think about the process and craft of writing. A few pithy quotes in that regard from the February 2012 issue: "What does literature do for me? I think I solve problems in my writing. They may be […]

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Another Harper’s Moment

I can't seem to quit writing about Harper's Magazine, especially since my old tried and true, NEWSWEEK, has corroded to crap right before my eyes. It's perhaps unfair to compare a weekly with a monthly, but Harper's always gives its readers something topical, but in a depth that NEWSWEEK has long since discarded.  In the […]

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Why Write Fiction?

The featured article in the latest issue of Writer's Chronicle magazine – and here I resist a digression – makes a statement, in the context of creative writing programs, with which a heartily agree: "Whatever shortcomings may arise when creative activity is institutionalized…creative writing programs at their best have promoted the public good by sharpening […]

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