Let Us Write

Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the fact that I’ve finished more short stories in five weeks than I have in five years. That’s a bitter root to chew on, but there it …

Writers – Beware Writerly Advice

Here’s a single-page excerpt from Raymond Chandler’s Trouble Is My Business: Dorr said softly, meditatively: “Holding out, huh?” “Yes,” I said grimly. “While I have it I’m fairly safe. You overplayed your hand when you let me get my paws on it. I’d be a fool not to hold what advantage it gives me.” Dorr said: “Safe?” with a gently …

Walk the Walk

I wonder about the trees. Why do we wish to bear Forever the noise of these More than another noise So close to our dwelling place? We suffer them by the day Till we lose all measure of pace, And fixity in our joys, And acquire a listening air. They are that that talks of going But never gets away; …

Prepare Yourself

Every evening, before I go to bed, I perform the following ritual: Pull out the gym clothes I’ll be wearing the next morning. Pull out the work clothes I’ll be changing into after my post-workout shower. Pack my gym bag with a towel and work shoes. Put my gym shoes besides the gym bag. Prep my coffee maker so I …

Second (and third, and fourth, and…) Chances

“One of the lies would make it out that nothing Ever presents itself before us twice. Where would we be at last if that were so? Our very life depends on everything’s Recurring till we answer from within. The thousandth time may prove the charm” -Robert Frost, Snow Everyone is familiar with the feeling of hearing the right thing at …

The Illusion of Straight Lines

Occasionally, I think back to all of the times when I was trying to learn something difficult. Memories of frustration and anxiety. When I do that, the conclusions usually sound the same: “If only I had done this thing sooner…” or “I wasted so much time on that…” And then I wonder if I would be where I am today …

I Think YOU Can Be A Genius

The saying goes, “Asking the right question is half the answer.”1 There’s a popular misconception of nature-vs-nurture. It’s built into the nomenclature for crying out loud. People bandy it about as if the two terms are constantly opposing forces, each trying to dominate the other. A more accurate way to think about this concept, then, might be to rebrand it …

Believe It or Not, You Have a Choice

Life gives us many choices. Sometimes they may not appear to be there, but they are. Sometimes they are pretty tough, but that doesn’t eliminate their existence. These days, we have more opportunity than ever to achieve our goals and twice that amount of opportunity to distract ourselves. “The cost is too high,” you say. The cost of failure. Of embarrassment. …

Ouroboros
F-14 Tomcat

Highway to the Uncomfortable Zone

The first couple of hours checking into our hotel last night were consumed with soothing a frantic Angus. First it was the elevator. He wanted nothing to do with its tightly enclosed space and its automatic doors sealing him up like a trapped insect. We managed to console him enough to get from the first floor to the second. Then …

Shortcuts = Long Delays

We had an insightful speaker today at my writer group’s monthly meeting: Joe Ide, author of the acclaimed IQ. I’m definitely picking up his books for a couple of reasons: If he writes a story as well as he tells one, I’m already sold. The guy is full of charm and has an eye for telling details that really hook …