Channeling Dunbar & Dylan

by Ed Davis on August 23, 2016

I recall, years ago at the Antioch Writers Workshop, watching from afar as Herbert Woodward Martin prepared himself to become Paul Laurence Dunbar. Herb had sequestered himself outside the auditorium to do what he needed to do in order to let the famous Dayton poet inhabit his body, his mind, maybe even his soul.

To channel Dunbar. What does that mean when artists say they’re “channeling” someone else?

Do You Believe in Magic?

I hadn’t thought much about this quasi-mystical term until recently. Reuniting with my old professional musician friend Tom Martin (www.martinsguitar.com), I surprised him by … Read the full article

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The End of Editing

by Ed Davis on August 1, 2016

(At least for now)

Shortly after The World According to Garp won the National Book Award in 1980, I recall reading that John Irving was caught on-stage editing the published copy of his novel before rising to read from it. Amazing! Wasn’t it good enough by then? Shouldn’t he have let it go?

Now, many years later I understand that we—no one else— are the CEO’s of our work and that there simply is no end of editing until we die (then someone else takes over). And yet if writers are interested in moving on and not getting stuck in … Read the full article

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Advanced Dialogue: Nate & Silas

June 21, 2016

Not known for our conversational acumen, we men are even less lauded for our ability (or desire) to “go deep,” unless it’s to be the distant target of a forward pass. But recently I had a couple of miraculous moments during two male “non-conversations” leading to realizations resulting in a life-enhancing epiphany.

The Foxhole

The first was a social encounter with “Nate,” a fellow cancer survivor who’d given me excellent medical advice in 2015, resulting in my getting a prostatectomy rather than treating my disease with radiation or “watchful waiting.” We began chatting about Mohammed Ali, who’d just passed away … Read the full article

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Serving the Work: Me, Brooks & Hemingway (Plus a Photography Exhibit at Aullwood)

May 2, 2016

“Hemingway able to rekindle brilliance despite excesses” read the headline above David Brooks’ op-ed column last week in the Dayton Daily News. I knew the excesses would be mostly alcohol, but I was keen to read what Brooks meant by “rekindling.” All of us who write need to know how to keep feeding the fire.

Along with his suggestions to perform the “professional routines that served as a lifeline when all else was crumbling” and strive for “moments of self-forgetting,” it was Brooks’ third item that really grabbed me. In his estimation, when you try to serve the workRead the full article

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Literary Feasts

April 7, 2016
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Blue Jacket in Xenia Has Food!

How would you like to dine on gourmet soups, sandwiches, desserts and coffee among 50,000 books? If, like me, you’re looking for quality destinations along Greene County’s Little Miami Bike Trail—or, if not a biker, a place not too far to drive—then Table of Contents inside Xenia, Ohio’s Blue Jacket Books will delight you.

Could be you know Blue Jacket Books already; after all, it’s been an anchor business at 30 S. Detroit Street for ten years, selling used books almost exclusively, with vast holdings in social sciences and history. Also, BJB has a … Read the full article

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The Joy of Writing

March 8, 2016

The literary life has given me some very real moments of joy—and plenty of the opposite, too—but isn’t it perhaps the presence of both joy and despair in any “life,” literary or otherwise, that makes the experience so satisfying? Has it been the richest of my various lives? No. I prefer my life of important relationships, especially with my spouse, and even my spiritual life to writing. So how can third place be so full of joy? Maybe because it’s third place.

As the necessity of publication eventually became more a byproduct than the point of writing, the joy increased. … Read the full article

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Author Fair at Wright Library

February 17, 2016
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Writers Galore

On Saturday, March 5, 2016, from 2-4:00 p.m., I’ve been invited, along with nine other regional writers, to participate in an Author Fair at Wright Memorial Library, 1776 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood, Ohio. I’ll be in good company with well-published writers such as Katrina Kittle, Becky Morean and Sharon Short, all of whom will be displaying their books for sale. It’s a fine opportunity to chat with authors about their current books, plans for their next book as well as upcoming literary events in 2016. We’ll autograph books for you, too.

Writers Perform

Not only will … Read the full article

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Poetry Angel of the Glen

February 5, 2016

Glen Gift Shop Shocker 

This is a story of magic, poetry and Glen Helen, that mystical preserve of forest, stone and water existing at the edge of the Village of Yellow Springs, Ohio. A place of sacred surprise, as I recently found out.

On February second, my wife and I decided a hike in the Glen was just the thing to celebrate the unseasonable temperature of sixty degrees. But first we stopped at the Vernet Ecological Building on the Glen’s rim, where I visited the gift shop. After entering, I looked left and saw my poetry collection … Read the full article

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The Review from Hell . . . or Heaven?

January 25, 2016

“Exposition forced, heavy-handed . . . theme difficult to pin down . . . language workmanlike but not evocative . . . never drawn in by the style [which] . . . on several occasions felt awkward, careless.”

Yikes!! Was the above a review of a novice writer in an introductory creative writing course? Alas, the phrases are excerpted from a letter written by the anonymous reviewer of my current novel-in-progress to an editor of a press considering it for publication. (At least he liked the plot, which, he said, is “going to keep readers  interested.”) So how does one … Read the full article

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True Stories II (& Poetry)

December 3, 2015

So did I send my childhood pal, terminally ill with a brain tumor, the memoir I’d written describing a traumatic event that happened in 1965 when we were adolescents growing up in southern West Virginia—an event that tore apart our previous friendship and sent him into hiding and aligned me with our peers against him? (As I wrote in my previous blog post.)

Not at first.

I was reluctant to bother my friend with a memoir that was more about me—my role and my guilt—than about his reaction to public humiliation. And yet I found myself ready to face … Read the full article

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