Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

  Why Recycle? It’s a good thing my grandmother decided not to make lamps from the spent brass shell casings she found near her cabin in the Mojave Desert, a few miles from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. She had quite a collection built up before a friend told her that some of Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

  I own more books than I know what to do with. I trip over them, kicking them across the floor; I find them in the dust under the furniture (“so that’s where Lord of the Flies went!”) I had a Kindle for a while, thinking it would help reduce my piles of books, but Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Happy 2015! I wish all of you a prosperous and creative New Year. Thanks also to everyone who takes the time to read this blog. Let’s kick off January with a post about writing book reviews.   The Art of the Review   In the Sunday, December 28, 2014 edition of the New York Times Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Thirteen Little Poetry Projects

  This is the final post for 2014. I’ll be back in January with musings on Shakespeare, why I’m a sucker for kids’ poetry, the pros and cons of daily practice, prose vs. poetry, writing reviews, basking in obscurity, and other observations from the writing life.   Thirteen Little Poetry Projects The list below contains Continue reading Thirteen Little Poetry Projects

Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

  Step Up to the Open Mike   Everyone in the café heard me clear my throat into the microphone, my “hello” startling me through the loudspeaker. Fifteen years old and wearing a dress I’d made from an Indian bedspread, I delivered a quavering version of “Cameroon,” my favorite Miriam Makeba song, accompanying myself on guitar. Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Stick and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

    The Black Dogs of Rejection Thomas Mann said, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” We writers sweat over every sentence, agonize, rewrite, and rewrite some more. When we finally get a piece of writing ready to send out, we face that unfortunate Continue reading Stick and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

My Father the Teacher Recently, my mother sent me a poem I wrote at the age of six on a sheet of mimeograph paper. I turned the poem over and saw that I’d written it on the back of a copy of my father’s 1967 teaching schedule from San Bernardino State College. I thought of Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

“Writers often talk about the books that influenced them, but what are your nonliterary influences?” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/books/review/as-a-writer-what-influences-you-other-than-books.html?ref=review&_r=0 – Bookends, NYTimes, Sunday 11/9/14 Thomas Mallon and James Parker answer the question in two short essays. Mallon writes that he keeps “photos around me while I write the way other authors keep music on in the background, as a Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life

 Being Present I recently watched The Artist is Present, a documentary about Marina Abramović. Abramović is known as the “grandmother of performance art.” She has cut and burned herself, ingested anti-psychotic drugs, and invited people to manipulate her body with a variety of objects, including “a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, olive oil, scissors, Continue reading Sticks and Stones: Memoirs About the Writing Life