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Blasting Blowhards of the Book

Creative writing is often considered an elitist pursuit, mostly because the people who practice creative writing try to keep it that way. Hiding behind the excuse that “no one cares about creative writing except the people who practice it”, the creative writing clique keeps to itself.


November 22, 2010 3

I Just Need Some Space

If you can read this, you’ve probably been reading for more years than you haven’t been reading. In fact, you’ve been reading for so long that you rarely consider the process of reading. On the page, white space, or lack of white space, can immediately comfort you, overwhelm you, intrigue you, or make you hesitant.


November 19, 2010 2

What You Read Can’t Hurt You

Discussing serious fiction – with its complicated characters, heavy themes, and often intricate storylines – is sure to inspire questions like: Is this character believable? Is the character fully developed? Are the relationships between the characters fully realized?


November 17, 2010 3

Magic Tricks of the Text

Have you ever seen someone perform a really bad magic trick? The person is trying so hard to deceive or charm you that you are able to seem, without even really trying to look, exactly where he slipped the quarter. But when you witness a good magic trick, you are mystified. You know an answer must exist, but you don’t care.


November 12, 2010 0

Professor Potty Mouth

I tweet whenever the mood strikes and I have access to a Twitter application. I tweet when I’m planning my classes, when I’m writing, when I’m reading, when I’m at the grocery store, when I’m on the bus, and sometimes when I’ve been drinking a little too much. I hardly censor myself.


November 10, 2010 2

I Have a Graduate Degree in Lying

The writer isn’t lying, not even close. Instead, the writer describes a truth different from the one defined by our justice system, the one we mean when we ask, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” When you answer “yes” to that question, you swear to tell the objective truth.


November 3, 2010 4

How to Have a Great Idea

How does having a great idea make you feel? Excited? Overwhelmed? Does anyone feel angry when they have a new idea? Probably not. When I have a new idea, especially one that I know I can actualize, I feel most alive. I feel grateful. So, how can you have great ideas more often?


November 1, 2010 2

Emily Dickinson at the Computer

I’m no Dickinson scholar, but I do know that she wrote her poems by hand. The dashes were a mark of great energy, violence, and passion. They break up sentences and phrases in a way that commas and semicolons can’t. They demonstrate a fierce continuation of thought, a determination to reach the end of the idea.


October 27, 2010 4

How to Be Rich, Even When You’re Poor

If you see an interesting word, and you learn how to use it, you can add it to your Bank of Vocabulary account, without any fees or interest rates! You can’t hoard endless amounts of your favorite snack or your favorite brand of clothing, but you can have as many of your favorite words as you want.


October 18, 2010 5

On “Word Garbage” and Heavy Reading

In order to be a great writer, you do have to write a “difficult” work. But what’s “difficult” is the subject matter, the relationships between the characters, and the emotional weight of the story. “Difficult” should describe the reader trying to get the work out of his or her head.


October 15, 2010 5