Category: Writing & Reading

Literature is important to me, since my mother read Uncle Remus to us. That surely is a dated reference as well as a hoary old stereotype, but one shouldn’t deny the truth because it is inconvenient.

When I realized retirement was beckoning, I started taking fiction writing courses, since I saw that as my new job–convert my ideas into stories. Boomer was one result. This blog, Burning Thoughts, is another, as is Mental Construction, a theory of how neural operations affect our mode of thinking.

This category has numerous posts about writing techniques.

Live by the Word

Facts are surrounded by words

I spend a lot of time reading words, writing words, and thinking in words. And I’ve noticed a peculiar feature which sometimes happens to me. I start following the words of people who are involved in a dispute – both sides – more than I refer back to the actual actions involved. My thought train…

Decision in Ireland

Upper Pasture May 3, 1798 Patrick Hamill stepped his way down the path leading from the upper pastures of the Antrim Mountains. Patrick was a wiry, black-haired youth of 17. He was of medium height, now that his growth spurt had kicked in. He wasn’t solid like his Da or Hugh, his older brother. His…

A Successful Poem

Kick in the Keester

You get what you deserve The anthem of the successful I  earned what I got The poor deserve what they get The self-satisfied pat on one’s own back And the well-deserved kick in the keester for the poor               A contrary view,        

Math And Science Affect How I Think and Write

The energy of activation that must be surmounted for a reaction to occur

When I make an argument or write an essay, it’s math and science that shape my thoughts, much more than the two English classes I took as an undergraduate. Minimal Orthogonal dimensions From vector space theory, construct a set of axioms which span the space of discussion and make those premises independent of each other.…

Champions

Suited man holding a silver cup

The opening notes of the old Queen hit “We Are the Champions” rang out of Amy’s desk. Pushing the project funding graph forward, Amy opened the desk’s bottom drawer to get her cell phone. Her favorite photo of Ryan lit the screen. “Hi, Honey,” she said. “Make it quick, please. It’s only a few minutes…

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…