Every Journey Ends at Home

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward In the South, perhaps more than any other part of these United States, wealth determines both a family’s worth and their protection from harm. And in the South the way that truism affects  blacks hasn’t changed. The prize-winning Sing, Unburied, Sing is another of Ward’s with the poorer people…

LBJ – The President Who Would Be Loved

  Why the near-wholesale absence from blogging? Where have I been? A changing world demands changes of me, too, it seems, changes I can barely describe, and far  beyond the scope of this blog, this post in particular. The same can be said – in spades – of those chosen by whatever device to the…

Humanizing A Legend

The Kid, by Ron Hansen Over the years Ron Hansen has been perhaps my favorite contemporary writer, and as far as I know, I’ve been a loyal reader, having read every published piece he’s written. Even met him years ago in Atlanta, had the opportunity to chat briefly with him that evening. The thing about being…

When Is A Story Not A Story?

A friend who is an avid reader read an in-progress manuscript of mine recently (bless those who volunteer to be beta readers), and as with any constructive critique, I learned from the reader’s side of the story. Readers, he reminded, want to engage with the characters – if not to like them, at least to…

Read a Banned Book Today

  Books speak quietly. They’re full of ideas-and stories representing concepts that can’t seem to be transmitted any other way, except perhaps in pictures. But throughout history, books have been banned. Why? Societies put limits on the behavior of their people, for one thing. This is often necessary for a society to function. The rub…

A German Interlude

  The House By The Lake, by Ella Carey Genre blending is the new passion in writer land. We’re mixing non-fiction with fiction, memoir with fiction, fictionalized essays, and perhaps more I can’t think of at the moment. The skill in writing such blends into a cohesive whole is no small feat, and Ms. Carey has…

Language and the Limits of Being Human

  Everyone feels that we’re in unique times, but as a writer, I have to wonder what we’ll write as the world and its people traverse these interesting times. Will history take off in some unexpected direction? Will we head into space, explore the “final frontier?” Will human nature itself change? Having spent the decades…