A Brief History of Writing for Money 

The issue of art and money is a complicated one. Lately, I have been thinking about giving all my work away free (think: musician Amanda Palmer http://amandapalmer.net), but the mechanisms needed to do so as a writer, unlike a musician, would be too costly in the long run. Still I …

Ink in KC

The Writing Place in Kansas City has a twenty-three-year history serving the literary community. It’s encouraging to know when a writer moves to a new city, s/he knows where the ink-beating heart lies, or at the very least know where to start. I look forward to checking it out. The …

Two Roads

I’m on a long, and winding road. And, I’m afraid it’s not entirely pleasant. In fact, sometimes it’s down right frustratingly long and winding. I chide myself for taking the road at all, less traveled or otherwise. Really, I have only myself to blame. Well, partly. It comes down to …

Person from Porlock

A dream. An opium-induced haze. Either a dream or a drug helped or hindered Samuel Taylor Coleridge to realize his poem “Kubla Khan.” But a third spectre surely had a hand as well — the so-called person from Porlock. An unwelcome guest from the namesake village at the door stopped the poet mid-poem and the cadence of the poem’s music …

Thoreau’s Ice-Harp

Conditions here and elsewhere remind me of this rather beautiful image from Henry David Thoreau, found in his famous work Walden. At Walden Pond, I found a musical instrument which I call the ice-harp. It’s a thin coat of ice covered a part of the pond but melted around the edge of the …

Between the Lines

Reading “Frantumaglia” by Elena Ferrante now — well, one of my many books on the go strewn about and picked up when found. The book is an exhilarating inside look at her process, her struggles and victories. Much like her work, in these letters, emails and other missives, the book …

Hubbub & A Cup of Joe 

Some writers enjoy heading out to their local coffeehouse to write. The murmur of the morning crowd, or the bustle of the afternoon masses, helps in some mysterious way to get pen to paper, as it were. I’m not a huge fan of noise while writing — it’s okay for …

Blue Humanities

Without the sea, no clouds, no rain, no rivers, no life, perhaps. Seven-tenths of the world’s surface is sea — and yet! What do we know? The oft-repeated dilemma that we know more about the moon than we do about the waters of this world, comes to mind. Such a …

The Annual Edge Query

In my first year, teaching argumentative writing, at Mizzou (University of Missouri) I used the annual Edge question as the foundation for the course. That year, it was: What is your most dangerous idea? Some students took the question literally and replied by writing essays on skydiving or swimming with sharks, …

The Oddball Trove 

Carl Sandburg, a poet and biographer, reportedly told his children that he would leave them millions in his passing — millions of pieces of paper, and other ephemera. We are currently selling our home, and I have the misfortune of complete strangers traisping through my office, which is the present …