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 Steel of Men and Structure

  High Steel – The Daring Men Who Built The Worlds Greatest Skyline, 1881 to the Present, by Jim Rasenberger Quite often when writers take on a particular slant on history, they leave out the critical human element, i.e., how that particular bit of history affects the people involved. Not so with High Steel. Rasenberger…

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

NOTE: I wrote this little essay for the local paper, sure that they would make a big fuss over it and publish it. As high hopes sometimes go, they ignored it altogether and functionally refused to publish. So I’m sharing it here. It was 1967, I remember, and I was all but trembling with The…

If You Fall…Get Back Up!

Rise + Hustle, by Mike Whitfield I’m no longer concerned with the oddities of commercial writing. Besides all the postmodern variations on story structure and purpose, I’ve reviewed a novel to be used for (other) business purposes, so I don’t blush at all to review Rise + Hustle, Mike Whitfield’s book about the promise and…

More on Sing, Unburied, Sing

  There’s a larger sense of story that preoccupies Jesmyn Ward in this book, and that’s the history of our United States, which has forever shouted freedom and equality from the rooftops while living quite another reality. History flies at ten thousand feet, some say, while personal life flies much closer to the ground. Ward…