The 5 Books on My Desk

I don't know about you guys, but sometimes...writing is hard. Today I struggled. And I did not accomplish much. (The kitchen is clean. There's that. It counts.) To help combat the doldrums I keep five writing books within reach of my desk. I thought that if anyone else was struggling -- especially in the middle... Continue Reading →

2 Things I Learned About History’s Role in Writing from Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

All right, because I’m a nerd like that, I insisted on reading Lovecraft Country before watching the show. I’m only a couple episodes in – so no spoilers! Here are a couple things I learned reading the novel: Acknowledge Your Literary Tradition…and Critique It. Art is not made in a vacuum. Every piece of writing... Continue Reading →

White Paper – Wilt Thou Be My Confident?: Grief and Creation

On July 8, 1822, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley died in a boating accident. Months later, Mary Shelley wrote the following in her journal: If you ever get the chance to read the whole entry, it will break your heart. (If you're not a cold-hearted bastard, that is.) She continues to explain how the only comfort... Continue Reading →

Dream Sequence

Of all the books in all the world that have been inspired by dreams, Frankenstein remains the most famous. (Though Twilight did what it could to oust that.) In the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Shelley goes into detail about the inspiration behind the novel: her nightmare.  "When I placed my head on my pillow I... Continue Reading →

One True Sentence: Writing Wednesday

In the spirit of last week's Write Expecting to be Read: Mary Shelley’s Journals -- the prompt for today is to riff on "write what you mean, mean what you write." And we're going to do that by following the advice of another author: Ernest Hemingway. No, we're not writing drunk and editing sober. But we are... Continue Reading →

The Weight of an Infinite Sky: Introducing “Little Reviews”

For my Goodreads reading challenge this year, I decided that I would read 50 books. And, rather than write a traditional review -- which I do all the time for Criminal Element -- I thought I would create art from art. You see, after a while it's hard to critique other people's work. They've spent... Continue Reading →

Write Expecting to be Read: Mary Shelley’s Journals

When I was younger - maybe eleven or twelve - my mother told me never to write down anything I didn't want someone else to read. If I kept a diary or a journal, I needed to make sure I meant what I said. And I should never write down anything I would not say... Continue Reading →

Sleeping With Your Father

Throughout January and February, I'm going to be utilizing Mary Shelley as my writing mentor. You may have heard of her. Quick Bio: Mary Shelley is most famous as the creator of Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus -- a novel which has undergone endless printings and, since the invention of the movie, several films. You probably know the... Continue Reading →

Lightning, the Lightning Bug, and the Price of Some of Kerouac’s Revisions

**Be forewarned, adult language/content** Mark Twain once said something like (I don't have the direct quote in front of me): "the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Agree or disagree, Twain has a point. To illustrate, I give you two passages from On the Road... Continue Reading →

Charactouac? or Kerouacter?

“New Criticism locates meaning in the internal qualities of literary works, specifically the unity of their multiple verbal structures. as much as it values unity and convergence, New Criticism eschews authorial intent and historical context as bases for interpretation, although it allows that they might supplement understanding.” ~Joshua Kupetz, “The Straight Line Will Take You... Continue Reading →

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