Year: 2017

Grandpa Was a Hillbilly

My grandpa was a hillbilly so Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance seemed like an opportunity to learn something about a man I barely knew. Grandpa died shortly after my ninth birthday and all I know about him came from Grandma. She said he came from Daleyville… Read more Grandpa Was a Hillbilly

Photography as Meditation

I received my copy of UU World (The Magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association) a couple of days ago and finally had time to start reading this morning. I haven’t read it all, but an article entitled “Deeper Attention” by Anitra Lavanhar immediately caught my attention. Lavanhar referred to the deeper attention she paid to… Read more Photography as Meditation

Circles Within Circles

There’s a tightrope walker on a cable between the still-standing World Trade Center towers. He ties the many threads of Colum McCann‘s novel Let the Great World Spin because, at some point in the novel, everyone sees the walker—including: Two little boys playing in Ireland. One grows up to be a monk in New York… Read more Circles Within Circles

How Many Characters in a Book?

One of my editors told me I needed to kill off a bunch of characters. He said I had too many to follow. I thought about Eugene Sue’s 1889 novel, The Wandering Jew. It runs a couple thousand onion-skin pages and I do remember struggling to remember who was whom. But in the two novels… Read more How Many Characters in a Book?

Big Band Music

I couldn’t resist just one post with only music. What follows is what Bobbi Bowen would have been singing and hearing. Please click through the ad(s) I tried to avoid them, but I linked to publicly available YouTube video/audios. This one is a little late for Bobbi, but she’d have loved Glen Miller’s The Lady is… Read more Big Band Music

Traveling to New Locations

A workshop and a couple of readings will keep me traveling quite a lot this month. No big commitments if it weren’t for the travel time. As many of you know, out here on the Great Plains we measure distance not in miles or kilometers but in hours–and it takes several to get from here… Read more Traveling to New Locations

Conspiracy Theory?

The prompt for next week’s writing group meeting comes from a photo, not a line.  It’s a photo of a photographer with a professional camera up to his eye. In the sepia-toned photo, he wears a hat. He could be a private detective trying to get proof of wrong-doing. I was thinking about him as… Read more Conspiracy Theory?

Dragon’s Eggs

I will be at the Nebraska Writers Guild Greater Nebraska Conference this weekend, but I’d like to leave you with something to consider. What follows is an excerpt from my book, The Reluctant Canary Sings. I will be reading this bit at the conference, but what I hope it does is gets people thinking about… Read more Dragon’s Eggs

Work in Progress–Characters

I’m using my character profile worksheet again. This character plays the lead in a book I’m calling See Willy See for now–because of his initials and middle name. So here he is, Connor William Conroy, brother, son, farmer, hobo, soldier, just trying to get along. Connor Conroy Profile Worksheet Basic Statistics Name: Connor William Conroy… Read more Work in Progress–Characters

Trampling in Eggshells

I met Karen Stork at a book festival. I’d just given a presentation on researching memoirs and she wanted to tell me about hers, Screw the Eggshells. She said she’d written about verbal abuse in her marriage and always feeling like she had to walk on eggshells. Since I’d experienced some of the same misery,… Read more Trampling in Eggshells