Category: Writing & Reading

Motivation for Writing Message Stories

Boy flying by standing on bees

Samuel Taylor Coleridge mentioned the “willing suspension of disbelief” that readers bring to a well-told fantastic tale, inducing them to believe the unbelievable.  Now, it is a commonplace that the reader can be counted on to enter a fictional story ready to accept an initial situation if everything afterwards is sensibly connected to the initial…

Church Clothes

While ‘90s rap played in many houses, while contemporary America bought machines to cook without fire and to clean floors automatically—luxuries and delights beyond the imaginations of pharaohs, kings, and people of early in this century—another task remained beyond technology. Teenagers struggled to escape childhood rules and to make choices sensible to a world unfolding…

Bully

(How does a bully see the world?) “Judy,” my little sister calls to me from across the basement.  “Momma wants to know.  Do you want a sandwich?” I jump back from the basement window, which I’d been watching the backyard.  “Clara, don’t sneak up on me.”  I soften my tone and bite off the end…

Distance. Insight into Show, Don’t Tell

John Gardner in The Art of Fiction described a very useful addition to the discussion about point of view (POV). He called it distance. Distance is a measure of emotional nearness presented to the reader. Understanding distance gives more insight into the constraint that all writers know: “Show. Don’t tell.” Gardner focused on distance with…

Essay or Story

As a person interested in issues, sometimes I get a passion for a developing idea yet am unsure whether to express it as an essay or a story. Sometimes I write a critical essay, other times a short story. Why would I ever want to write a piece of fiction to lay out an idea…

Thomas Wolfe’s House

After Biltmore on Saturday, Kris and I went to downtown on Sunday. Thomas Wolfe’s childhood house in Asheville. He populated Look Homeward Angel with characters drawn from the boarding house his mother ran and the town he lived in. After it was published, he didn’t return for years, fearing the reaction the town had to…

Innocence

Irene, dark-haired and intelligent Mind pure, uncluttered by uncertainty Summer begun for her Passing Cylburn’s greenhouses God wouldn’t allow evil in her world Only the pure would dare approach her. Carl’s long strides along the path Relieved his stress No cutting father, no meek mother Past the rows of warm azaleas A world of beauty…

Deep in His Own Well

George Clark listed this stat of the day in his FB feed: a visitor views a picture for a median of 17 seconds in the NYC Met Museum of Art is 17 secs. I wouldn’t dispute that, but let me add this flash piece representing a long tail end. Originally published in the Mensa Bulletin…

Phil Never Loses

The other day, talking to Mark Gorkin who specializes in burn-out recovery and teamwork, I realized I too have a few stories that deal with work. Here’s one with a boss’s trait worth knowing about.   My boss, Phil, use to brag, “I’ve never lost an argument at work.  Whether it’s about which teams get…