Creative Friendships

Creative friendships are important. I’ve had a few in my creative life: Robert L. was my first and strongest. We gathered in his basement barroom every Wednesday, drank scotch and soda and listened to Jack Teagarden records. We encouraged each other, supported each other, and were sometimes hard on each …

Moving & Things

I like the butchered saying that goes: It’s not going through one door to another that’s troublesome, it’s the hallway that’s hell. Which is to say, yes, change is indeed difficult, but it is when you are in the midst of it that is the most taxing. Dyan and I have …

Beginning a Memoir 

While in graduate school, I had the pleasure of having a one-on-one writing session with Rodger Kamenetz, author of The History of Last Night’s Dream, and other books. You can find out more about Mr. Kamenetz here: http://rodgerkamenetz.com The chief takeaway from our meeting, discussing memoir structure, was that the memoirist is asking a question …

Waywords and Meansigns 

Interesting e-mail sent my way this week. Derek had read my post on the “Finnegans Wake Toolkit” and sent me a note about this wild endeavor — to put James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to music. Amazing. Check it out. Waywords and Meansigns: Recreating Finnegans Wake in its whole wholume. James Joyce’s Finnegans …

Passions of Elizabeth Bishop 

A big fan of Elizabeth Bishop’s work. Her poem “The Fish” is probably one of the best contemporary poems beginning: I caught a tremendous fish I won’t ruin the poem for you (was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!). Find it here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/fish-2 There’s a new biography out on Bishop, who did not have …

Oliver Writes off the Subject

One of the chief things I take away from Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town, is the possibility of writing on a subject while not speaking of it directly by using (seemingly) unrelated events, places and tone to speak of the subject. Writing off subject is one way of feeding the subject, while not …

Dillard! 

You know it’s all her fault. Annie Dillard makes me want to be a writer and not just any writer, but one that is filled with poetry, and reverence and beauty. I want to write like her and there are times when I think I’m close to succeeding. Is this …

Spiritual Geography

I was young when I first came to read Dakota. I was searching, and a friend thought it might help guide me. True enough. Over the years, I’ve returned to this classic memoir about finding yourself not where you expected, but as you are. Each time the book reveals new things. …

Based on a True Story, winks Borges

  When reading Jorge Luis Borges one is constantly flipping back to the cover. Exactly what am I reading?  Fiction or non-fiction? Borges’ prose is so well crafted one is never fully sure if the work is a piece of make believe or if the material is thinly veiled truth. There …