Archive for the Advice Category

Reading Icon-ically

In the Orthodox tradition, an icon is a picture that serves as a window to see God and an opportunity to open that window to receive something from God. Reading can work the same way: we read a devotional book or study the Bible, and the experience can […]

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My Favorite Work of Art

In summer 1998, I had the first serious accident of my whole life. I was scraping paint off of some windows at my house, and I slipped and jammed the razor tool into the back of my knuckle. A quick trip to the hospital confirmed that I […]

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A Practical Procedure for Writing Groups

 Have you ever been part of a writing group that gave vague, sloppy, useless advice? Or a group that was so negative you felt your motivation deflating like an old balloon? In my classes, I have students meet in groups of three, four, or five to read short […]

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What I Wish I Had Known Before I Became a Writer

The Steve Laube Agency just ran a blog post asking, "What is one thing you wish you had known before you became a writer?" Here is their blog post: http://www.stevelaube.com/one-thing-wish-known/ Here is my answer: When I finished the manuscript for  The Company They Keep, I  drove to Staples, packaged up the thick […]

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What Should I Read?

A couple weeks ago, I received this note from one of my students: Professor, I mentioned the idea of getting your recommendation for five of your favorite books that I need to read before I die. I know you are most likely slammed with reading and grading so take […]

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Promises to My Creative Self

In my senior seminar class, students study the creative process, then create an artifact to help them to remember how they want to live their lives. One of my students designed a poster, and this is what it said: Promises I Swear To Keep To My Creative Self 1) […]

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Are You a Writer?

When do you know that you are --really-- a writer? When you see a picture of your book on Amazon? When you win a writing award? When you actually hold your first published article in your actual hand? When you get your first fan letter? When wikipedia decides that you are "notable" When […]

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How James Taylor Keeps My Dreams Alive

I teach a required general studies course called Introduction to Literature. It's a standard course at most universities. When I teach it, we spend the first seven weeks looking at poetry. I have a step-by-step method of analysis that I teach them: I take all the usual […]

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Should You Give Lulu.com a Try?

I recently completed several projects on Lulu.com, and overall, I am very pleased with them. The books look very good and the turn-around time is fast. They do a brilliant job of boxing your books: the packaging is very sturdy. I especially like the flexibility of their […]

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Good Poetry (David Whyte)

The Lightest Touch Good poetry begins with the lightest touch, a breeze arriving from nowhere, a whispered healing arrival, a word in your ear, a settling into things, then like a hand in the dark it arrests the whole body, steeling you for revelation. In the silence that follows […]

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