Since You’ve Been Gone

  I mean, you’re not that far from us. You’re in Oregon. Our states touch. We’re one plane ride away. (If we fly direct to Portland then drive to Eugene. Otherwise it’s two plane rides with a connection in San Francisco. Sometimes one of the planes has a propeller.) So what I’m saying is, you’re […]

A Modest (Writing) Proposal

              Here’s a common-sense mantra for writers: Before you do anything else, Write Today First. In theory, it’s a pretty great goal but the acronym tells a different story: W.T.F. Sometimes, despite good intentions, our hearts simply will not settle. My mind (not to mention my body) can be relentless […]

One Sentence at a Time

When I taught English, my students would come to me for help on their essays. More accurately they were seeking better grades. They would stand by my desk or I’d stand by theirs and they would be worried. Or annoyed. Or both. “Read this out loud,” I would tell them. “This sentence here.” “But I […]

How NOT to Write a Novel

6:00 AM: At buzz of alarm, leap from bed confident that TODAY you’ll work on your novel. (Your NOVEL!) 6:05 Guzzle coffee while checking email for news regarding previous novel. No news. Decide not to worry because the novel you’re writing TODAY is the bestseller. Definitely. 6:07 Check Facebook and twitter. Click on several links […]

For My Son on His Birthday

You’re the one who changed me. June 22, 1997. That’s the day you took apart the whole of me to be pieced back together in a puzzle I hope will never be completed. You were my life’s great surprise, usurping this body before I’d finished writing thank you cards for wedding gifts. Unable to breathe […]