12Jul, 2019

How the Experience of Surgery and Tremendous Physical Pain Changes You Forever

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This Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of my hip surgery. Unfortunately, this anniversary makes me sad. Recovering from this surgery sent me through hell and back, and I am not better for it. One-and-a-half hours of surgery, and I shall never be the same again. I went in thinking I will have to endure pain, but ultimately I will be [...]

5Jul, 2019

How a Sad Story from the 18th Century Brings to Life Today’s American Locations

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View of Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine, May 2019 Before we left on our recent trip to Acadia National Park, an acquaintance recommended I read Evangeline - A Tale of Acadie. When I looked puzzled at that suggestion, she insisted, "Read it! It's the story of that place." Indeed it is. Epic poems are not exactly typical contemporary reading [...]

28Jun, 2019

What to Do When a Deadline Looms and You Are at a Loss What to Write About

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Get going on the road to writing (Empty road in Nevada, August 2011) Last Thursday, I was at a loss what to write for Friday's blog post. Uninspired, I thought, I'll just share a collection of phrases I found insightful from a craft book I recently read (Roger Rosenblatt's Unless It Moves the Human Heart). However, as soon as I [...]

21Jun, 2019

Why Hemingway Repeated Words, Why We Learn from Teachers We Don’t Like, and Other Insights on the Craft of Writing

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My writing studio in the attic of the Hemingway Birthplace Home, back when I was writer-in-residence. While I didn't particularly enjoy Roger Rosenblatt's Unless It Moves the Human Heart - The Craft and Art of Writing, he did teach me something about Hemingway's prose that I always wondered about: Why does Hemingway use simple words over and over? Here's an [...]

14Jun, 2019

The Chore of Writing Book Reviews: Is Having to Read a Book Worth it?

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I just clicked the Send button to submit my last book review. Until now I told myself that this would be my last. I don't want to have to read a book anymore. Mind you, as a writer I am unlikely to not have to read a book now and then. I teach writing, and so I have to read [...]

7Jun, 2019

The Best Thing ever for a Writer: When a Reader Shares Passages She Loved from your Book with You

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Jumping Over Shadows in Karlsruhe (photo by Barbara Jester) As a writer, there is nothing I like more than connecting with a reader. So I was thrilled when Ellen Amarnek tagged me in the following post: She had photographed a passage she particularly liked from my article "A Day on a Bench in Paris" in the Bella Grace Issue 19. [...]

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