It’s Been A Long Time Coming

I grumble here quite a bit about the state of creative writing in the U.S., don’t I? And that sets me to considering what’s behind my grumpiness. One of my best finds in literature in the past fifteen years or so is that of South Africa. South Africa, you’d say? Yes. Check out this list,…

Oh, the Difference!

  According to a number of studies, men tend to prefer reading non-fiction and women fiction. Why is that? I’m treading on dangerous turf in genderizing reading habits, but here goes. Despite the advances women have made world-wide in social issues, politics, and the job market, it remains a men’s world – for the time…

Standing Around In Search of a Story

  I remember reading somewhere that a story isn’t really a story if its characters aren’t sharply defined, and so when I began my first novel, I chipped away the dross of my characters before writing the first word. Not so with the novel being examined here, I imagine. Haslett’s project seems to be to…

The Nine Lives of Literature

  If you were to GOOGLE “Is literature dead?” you would find that question asked in quite a few forums. The consensus? No, literature is NOT dead, and the authors of the question give many reasons. Literature, while there is the ancient Aristotlean idea of conflict-rising action-climax-denouement, or falling action, the art form has proven…

Taming Literacy in This Age

Is the novel dead? Why do the remaining book readers today prefer nonfiction to fiction? When I had been working as an engineer for some 6-7 years, the Chief Structural Engineer called me in and said, “Bob, I need you to write a letter for me.” What he meant was a scolding letter to a…

A New Ballgame

There are some changes coming in GF posts, one temporary, and at least one permanent. I’ve been hesitant to enter this stage of self disclosure, but my family life with the missus has entered a new phase, one that has ironically drawn us closer together – – she’s been stricken with an extremely nasty and…

Provoking, Informing, and Magazine Success

The Atlantic, March 2014   In a world in which magazines are closing their doors daily, a few have found the key to success, and The Atlantic seems to have that key firmly in its grasp. What makes its mojo work, then? Simple – find a way to entertain as it informs, and do so…