After dropping our daughter off for her first year at Hampshire College, we took a buffer trip around the Berkshires before heading home to the prospect of an empty house. Unexpectedly, because I only dimly knew it was there, we stopped at Arrowhead outside Lenox, Massachusetts, Melville’s home from 1850 to 1862, where he wrote […]

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Always the question: what to do next? After finishing the story, essay, poem, fill-in-the-blank, where do you go from here? Back to something you started and abandoned? To a single image or line of dialogue logged in a journal? To an anecdote too good to be true and therefore confounding as to how to make […]

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Skimming and Glancing

Writing is as much movement as it is sitting still. Everyone has had the experience of their fingers literally dancing over the keys. Things are cooking, and you can barely type fast enough to keep up with making the letters match your thoughts. Granted, it’s a rare experience, but the sensation indicates just how much […]

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What’s Happening?

At the recent Warren Wilson MFA residency in July, there was considerable talk about the pesky question of making something happen in fiction. And indeed this is much of the problem with early drafts of stories: the elements are all set up and then . . . the story comes to a slow halt like […]

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Bog On

A frequent question for writers: How do you know when a piece of writing is finished? One famous reply to that question: when you put back in the same periods and commas that you just took out. My own experience, just recently, has to do with “bogs.” That is, those morasses that writers sink into […]

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