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writing

“Write what you know” must be one of the earliest writing clichés in my memory. Presumably I dismissed this advice out of hand, which would explain my dim recollections of a nine-year-old self penning dramatic stories involving kidnappings, abandoned children, sudden blindness—none of which, I am happy to report, could fall under the category of “what I know.”

Over the years,...

blog - food

To me, the only real pleasure in life is food. I remember as a child my math Ph.D. father watching in horror as his daughter was far more interested in cooking shows than any math workbook he tried to pass onto me as fun. I spent my allowance money on...

Jeremiah Webster was a Finalists in the James Hearst Poetry Prize in 2011

As a teacher, Scop Wanted was my unabashed critique of the assessment culture that now dominates the American academy. In an attempt to foster higher learning...

Fan fiction is the red-headed stepchild of the writing world.  It searches for a home among reputable houses but, walking that fine line between plagiarism and hackneyed parody, it’s forced to live in the leaky, damp cardboard box in the dank and dingy alley outside, hoping tonight’s trash yields more than banana peels and half-burnt muffins for dinner.  The fact that it’s directly responsible for such...

My writing resume usually starts with the fact that I studied writing at LSU with Walker Percy and Vance Bourjaily, both known to interested folks as two great writers. I list them for just that reason, to have someone think, Wow, two fine writers and this unknown studied with them so let’s pay attention to his work because he must have some...

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Graham Greene, speaking in the person of the protagonist of the End of the Affair, describes book...

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We were on our way back from a raging party in the woods of northern New York.  We were drunk and deeply discussing the state of mankind.  We were sixteen.  I remember at some point in...

The seasons steer much of what I write.  As a gardener, hobby orchardist, and retired beekeeper, I find my frame of mind pretty much tuned to the light, the temperature, and the color of the day.  Winter has always been a time of being stuck in the darkness with the ground frozen; I'm standing at the window looking out a static landscape wishing my life away.  Either that or I'm going through lists and piling what we need for some trip to a southern latitude.  Busy work then, or at the...

I don't recall which celebrity had supposedly died, but a wire service had scooped the competition with an obituary and the news spread from there. Soon thereafter the celebrity issued a press release, not as witty as "the report of my death was an exaggeration", but in the same vein. Red-faced, the news service retracted the obituary. I suspect they eventually republished the obituary more-or-less verbatim when the personality passed away, much like an accountant getting a customer's credit...

“Writers are a funny breed,” the Jane Siberry song goes.  Indeed.

I’ve always admired writers willing—or forced to—abstain from writing for extended periods of time, who go through spurts and then return to the world of the living.  I think of Jean Rhys (who didn’t write for years).  I think of Toni Morrison—who has talked...

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