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Often, when I teach fiction writing workshops, I feel a bit like a guy peddling fortune cookies, each with a classic saw about craft inside. Show, don’t tell . . . Put your character in a tree and throw rocks at them . . . A problem with endings is a problem with beginnings. My students nod kindly. Many of them are science majors, taking a detour into humanities (or more often fulfilling a requirement) and they take notes, as if they plan on returning to these sage pearls of wisdom...

I’m writing this post—and a few other things—on my first summer day of liberation from teaching and administration, and it feels wonderful! Of course, by the time this post appears (in a month), the summer will feel half over—it will indeed be half over, as classes start mid-August. But for the moment, I’m reminded that writing is fun, especially when it’s not squeezed into the hour here or there available during the school year. And that I’m lucky to be able to write poems and prose,...

My story, "La Bomba Grande," started with this seed: that a young, Mexican girl, without any formal scientific training, was going to do this amazing thing in science, unlock this great riddle, and then, to make things even more spectacular, she was going to tie science and God together in a way that would be shocking. Basically, this one girl was going to change the whole world for the better. Normally, I cannot identify where I got a particular idea for a particular story. But in this...

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