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Publishing Addendums


An admission: My instincts are all Rodney King: Can’t we all get along? I’m conflict averse, accommodating, arguably milquetoast. That’s partly my nature and partly the result of living in a very small town where political divisions are radical and getting-along is crucial. So, I spent most of my adult life trying to see the other side, being equivocal, siding with reasonableness. My essay “Caucus” (North American Review...


My mom was in her hospital bed, smiling with rare warmth. The whiteness of the room was intense under the fluorescent lights. Maybe she was glad because I was the only one in our family to go to see her.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I wrote “Living at Tree Line” some ten years ago, I had never before written a braided...


How can a paper napkin turn into a poem?

Easy. But hard. Link it with a loved person and fire. Flame is the link in my poem "To a Great-Grandmother Who Loves Fire." Human beings have long been fascinated and ignited by it. Think of fire warming the hearth, or cut-down trees burning into smoke and flying up a stone chimney into cloud. The lady in my poem had the lively curiosity of a femal Prometheus, the good blood of a lively red-seeded pomegranate, and a spirit that struck a...


It took me a week to write "Village of Adams". It started as a journal exercise, something I never intended to be read by anyone. I remember wanting to just write down everything I wanted to about the town I grew up in. I started with the bats flying around our house. How one got stuck in my bedroom one night. In the pitch black darkness I could hear it fly around my room landing on my window sill.

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This week I spent some time at Randolph College, a private liberal arts institution in the hills of Lynchburg, Virginia. As a visiting writer, I gave a reading and waxed poetic with environmental studies and creative writing students. And I participated in an environmental writing class (a course I sure wish my college offered way back when) comprised of a mix of majors and taught by Laura-Gray Street.

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First the problem. Writers must seek criticism from others, especially those better than themselves (tournament Scrabble players study the strategies of those by whom they are beaten). It’s just like that or you literally lose the plot, and ten chapters later your tender romance that began on the sands of Nags Head has turned into an eldritch fable about the gods of the underworld. And someone has...

justin

One of the things I like most about my illustration assignments is that I have the opportunity to face challenges that get me out of my creative comfort zone. My first assignment from North American Review did just...

A_1395571552_furrytiger_-_na_konkurs_sobolya_animaciya - john's blog

As the author of over 45 books, I’m here to tell...

A strong breeze blew under a sunny sky as I drove up to the gate at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. Climbing down through the top hatch of an M46 Patton tank, I began a profound journey.  Wind gusts swirled around the tank body, but were they also ghostly voices of the crew? I turned quickly in the small space behind the assistant driver and banged my head on the breech block, a moment of searing pain. I panicked. Did I hear...

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