Grown Children and Boxes

The boxes that are stacked downstairs dwarf the room.  Cobwebs weave from one to the other.  The labels are fading and the tape is becoming brittle.  They have been there for years, untouched and unwanted by their owners. Yet I’ve been paralyzed by the idea of getting rid of them. After all, they contain the relics of my children’s childhood.Continue Reading

Inspiration Can Feel a Lot Like Lust

Imagine you’ve been working on one story when suddenly, without intention, you’re inspired by a new idea for another story with completely different characters. You know nothing about the new story, yet you know it is attractive and you can’t stop thinking about it.  Every part of your being suddenly wants to spend time withContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Eighth Graders Discuss the Civil Rights Movement for Black History Month

To help celebrate Black History Month, I will lead a discussion with an 8th grade class tomorrow afternoon about the Civil Rights Movement.  While it might seem strange, I feel more pressure to review and prepare than when discussing the same issues with adults.  Why? The questions will be less predictable.   Continue Reading

Writing, Reading and Retirement

The interview with Philip Roth in New York Times Book Review discussed, among other more contentious subjects, what he has been doing since he retired from writing.  The answer: reading.Continue Reading

‘Waking Up…..’

My mornings start with coffee and the New York Times. Often, however, during these past two years I have promised to break this ritual as campaign stories and oval office horrors deplete creative energy. Not this morning. This morning the paper shook me awake. I wasn’t expecting much as the holidays are here. And, likeContinue Reading

Writing About People You Know

Having written and published ‘Look Homeward Angel,’ Thomas Wolfe was perplexed to learn he was no longer welcome in his hometown, Ashville, NC. A collective nerve had been hit. Wolfe had, at best, only thinly disguised the town and its people with his rambling descriptions, leaving individuals horrified by his impression of their lives. FewContinue Reading

Book Club News

At the end of book club evenings when I have attended as a featured author, I am left with a strange, empty feeling. These are evenings when questions about my work are served with bites of dinner and glasses of wine. They are also evenings of friendship and literature. The club members have often knownContinue Reading

Political Candidates Become Writing Distraction

  Fiction writers notoriously complain about being distracted and frustrated by the amount of time they spend at their ‘day jobs.’ Many will not even read the work of other authors as this too can be distracting. Some will not travel or even leave their houses. So many things can be distracting and for me,Continue Reading

Writers Must Create Social Media Platform

Missing a day of writing makes me feel as if I am acting irresponsibly towards my characters. They need my daily input for their stories to be told. And, in the era of digital publishing, putting pen to paper is only the beginning of my responsibility. Once a story is written, it is up toContinue Reading

Documentation Validates Creative Non-fiction

When writing memoir or creative non-fiction, doubt will always linger when one has to rely on memory rather than documented facts. When I wrote a book of about the life of Amelia MacIntosh, a Southern, African-American woman who moved to New Jersey with my family at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, I couldContinue Reading