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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True Stories

November 17, 2015

Recently I wrote a short memoir, unusual for me, since I’ve written fiction and poetry almost exclusively for going on four decades; plus, it’s a sort of confession with real stakes:  if I ever showed it to my childhood best friend, recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I thought it might hurt him, maybe a lot. Yet I was driven, having hung on for half a century to the story of my friend who, humiliated by a bully before witnesses, afterward hid indoors for an entire summer. And another boy (me) who, along with his peers, assassinated that boy’s character … Read the full article

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Messy Inefficiency: Writing a Novel

October 23, 2015

A Mystery 

“Good,” my wife said. “Now you’re free to write the real book.”

I’d just described an interview in which I’d received information that would require an entire re-envisioning of my latest novel-in-progress’s plot—a rewrite that might require another year to produce a second draft. She then asked me why I hadn’t conducted the interview before writing my first draft? A really good question which should’ve been easy to answer but wasn’t—and got me thinking about my messily inefficient novel-writing process.


While I did significant research on hydraulic fracturing and learning disorders, both of which play … Read the full article

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