Author Archives

    My graduate reading was supposed to be fifteen minutes, which is a hard number to hit. It’s too much time for a short piece and not enough time for a long one, so I spent the night before furiously editing my piece to fit. I took a chance and read something that, for a change, […]

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    Of all the gifts a poet can be given, epilepsy is the richest. I fell when I was four. It was kept hidden by my family; my father had it scrubbed from my medical records. But my life was already deeply private, because I was a child poet and followed up an old, rusted way […]

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    A few years ago, I taught a class on recovering joy in the writing process. It wasn’t quite right at the time, and I have not had time to really dig into what would make it better, but I stumbled over some of the notes recently. I have also stumbled over some discussions of burnout […]

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    Somewhere in the middle of my fifth draft, I realized I was full of shit. Not that I was lying. I wasn’t. But I wasn’t telling the whole truth, either. The draft was for an essay on being engaged — specifically, on choosing a ring for my engagement. Having gone through a painful divorce, and […]

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    I write in a variety of genres: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and the interesting thing that seems to permeate everything I write is that I have a satirical voice. Personally, I find that injecting humor into my pieces is what helps the reader digest my strongly worded messages. Humor is agnostic. Although not everyone enjoys […]

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    Keep Pure. Rolling Hand. Big Wave. Breaking down the Fortress. Luck and Fortune. Sound Knowledge. Fifty-four Steps. For over twenty years I studied karate and these were the names of the battles I fought. These were kata, a series of structured fighting moves, offense and defense, that told a story, a narrative of struggle, one […]

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    There’s one thing that can’t be taught in writing classes. It’s really too bad, too, because in my mind, that “one thing” is the single most important ingredient when cooking up the Good Stuff. It’s the fast-dissolving capsule of Vitamin C – where the “C” stands for Creativity. (Ironically, if it were possible to teach […]

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    Every writer needs to read. A lot. All the successful ones say the same thing: Read promiscuously. Which is all well and good. Those in writing programs are assigned stacks of books that may or may not wind up being relevant. Some books we love, some we don’t. At the time, it’s assumed even tedious […]

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    I learned how to write fiction by understanding the language of visual art. As an artist, I was trained to capture the nature of my subject by amplifying the qualities that make that subject distinct or noteworthy. I may choose, for example, to accentuate the white of shimmering moonlight on the ocean, or exaggerate the […]

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    I find inspiration in very unexpected places. I am a fan of reading biographies/ essays/ articles of writers and their routines and habits but I get a little irritated at the self-help style of “How to Find Inspiration” articles. It’s like dating advice, what works for you will not necessarily work for others. We get […]

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