Category: Writing & Reading

Literary interests that arise from daily life. Books that affected me, stories that rise up to my pen, a few poems, and issues of craft.

Mr. Catastrophe

I lifted the window pole to open the front window from the top. Out the bottom of my eye, I saw a boy about my age, wearing a small dark yarmulke, playing on the schoolyard blacktop. The Jewish kids had the day off. Not us. I dawdled when I got to the back window, watching the boy. He extended his right hand grasping some yellow thing and pulled on a string. A brilliant yellow whirly bird spun up into the September breeze.

Writing Class

In my writing class, the teacher uses story to mean the emotional aspect and plot to mean the physical events.  It’s useful to analyze stories in with those 2 dimensions in mind, but I worry about confusion using the generic term ‘story’ in his class.   A short story means more than the emotional.  It means…

Word Smithing and Facts


People sometimes ask what I mean when I say wordsmithing.I can’t always think of a good example, but I’ve found one in American Canopy by Eric Rutkow (p 65). An excellent book about the value and role that trees have played in America’s development. Talking of backwoodsmen or frontier hunters, Rutkow observes, “They were no…

This Pen for Hire

I sugarcoat politician’s desires so that the hoi polloi will be tricked into thinking that’s the politician’s gain is in their interest. No one would vote for any politician if they knew the unvarnished truth.


It’s graduation time, which means different things to different people. I ain’t good enough for anything but second-string backcourt. No college scouts looked at me. I did get a school letter for my beat-up jacket. My bedroom door’s back up and shut. Praise be the Lord. I had to get that done. Now I can…

Fiction to Wiki

I’m getting a message on my Uncommon Ground blog that I can buy the future security of the site. Just the impetus I need to move those stories and poems to my wiki. I’ve started with Crazy Frazy and Staircase of Science

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s funny how things get remembered and forgotten. When I hear Johnny Cash singing “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, it takes me back to one wet, chilly Sunday morning in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Goodbye Charlie

The floating red bar reminded him of long ago, of the altar railing, which regular people weren’t allowed beyond. Charlie set his hands on the red bar, but pulled them back quickly. His palms were blistered.