The Art of Writing

Music, Improvisation, and Writing

A while ago my son and I went to a DC jazz club to hear the young group, Slumgum, whose pianist, Rory Cowal, is the son of a friend. The musicians at the time on tenor sax (Jon Armstrong), piano, bass (David Tranchina) and drums (Trevor Anderies) produced a vital […]

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Five Pages by a Fruit Bowl

Learning where to begin a story I’ll never forget Colm Tóibín’s presentation almost ten years ago at the bookstore Politics & Prose, preceding his reading of the novel, BROOKLYN. He said he he’d forbidden his writing students to use flashback. This remonstration was partly what influenced him to write BROOKLYN […]

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We Have Only One Story to Tell

I have struggled with the belief, not foreign to most writers, that I only have one story to tell. It’s why it took fifteen years to write my first novel; if I only have one story to tell, I thought I’d better tell it well. I remember a lecture by […]

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Where the Writing Life Happens

It took three weeks to clean, paint and reorganize my office—my garret, my sanctum sanctorum. Part of that time was to transition this space from graphic design workplace to writing/teaching space, another part was to empty it out after 25 years of packing things in, and the other part (likely […]

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Having Tried Nanowrimo

There’s something to be said for meeting a word count and writing blindly because you’ve got a word count to fulfill. It did get me going, though the direction it took me was completely off the trajectory of copious pages toward which I was working. The man was taking over […]

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