[We] are slaves to [our] pronouns

One of the exercises you can experiment with in pursuit of The Headless Way is pointing to the space where your head is not. I've made my living by words for many years. The older I get, the more inadequate language seems as a method of expression and connection. All language comes burdened with culture,... Continue Reading →

My top 12 for 2017

Everywhere you turn this time of year you find a top this-or-that list: books, movies, political disasters. I wasn't thinking about lists or the new year when I sat down a few days ago for my morning writing session. What emerged was a contemplation, in the form of a list, of why I pursue the... Continue Reading →

How to write a novel

Certainly, this is more difficult than writing an essay. You will envy those youthful writers who not only did it in their twenties (or earlier) but got published—and famous. To keep from becoming too discouraged, you’ll have to look for writing icons who didn't blossom until later in life. Now that the envy is under... Continue Reading →

À la recherche du temps perdu*

Last month, I answered some questions about my writing, one of which was “Why do I write what I do?” My answer focused on the "what." In the weeks since, I’ve realized there’s a deeper reason for the "why." Back in the days when photography required developing, a chemical fixative would stop the development of... Continue Reading →

Friend or foe or friendly foe?

It occurred to me this morning as I read through the several writing blogs I follow that many of the people writing these blogs are, technically, my competitors. What, you say? Your dear writer friends, who prop you up when you're feeling down, leave comments of encouragement, and generally are the only ones rooting for... Continue Reading →

Fragmented

Fragmented. That's how I have felt this week---pulled in a thousand directions (all right, I exaggerate slightly), rushing from one activity to the next, answering e-mails and phone calls, trying to stay in control of my own agenda. It's not a very fruitful state of mind for writing. It makes me nostalgic for my long-ago... Continue Reading →

While vacuuming

One of my most enduring insights into creativity came many years ago during a research methods course in graduate school at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. By now I have forgotten the exact content of the course, although given the era it must have involved going to the library... Continue Reading →

Zen writing

It's hard to clear the space in your brain to write when there are a thousand other things you ought to (you think) be doing. I have gotten much better in the rest of my life at focusing only on the task I am doing at this particular moment and leaving the rest outside my... Continue Reading →

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