I worked in a restaurant with Mexicans and white guys. The Mexicans worked hard. They had wives and sweethearts back home and pictures of kids in their wallets. The young one, Roberto, always had a paperback book stuck in his back pocket. We stayed late to give him rides home so the local boys wouldn’t beat him up. We pretended we had … More the Mexicans
I don’t tell my students about my doubts. I don’t say I think school is inferior to what we can learn through following our own curiosity, cultivating our own interests and developing our own course of study. I don’t say I’m convinced that the best way to learn to write isn’t found in the classroom. … More Man Ray and teaching
The night before the term begins, I dream of trying to get to my classroom. I dream of obstacles. Instead of the community college where I work, I drive to a high school My car turns into a child’s tiny toy car and must sometimes be carried The first classroom I go into is … More I Dream of Obstacles
This is the way I write it: my sister says she doesn’t remember anything about the Cuban Missile Crisis interrupting our family vacation to Texas or whether we still had the turquoise Thunderbird convertible then or not. Why don’t you write about it? One night in a bar Chuck tells friends the story of when … More mémoire (masculine), a special use of mémoire (feminine) ‘memory’
My daughter helped with the cover for my self-published, erotic eBook. She put on red lipstick and curled a section of her hair. She stood against the kitchen wall and had me hold her camera. She picked up one of the baby’s toys, a plastic strawberry, and held it to her open mouth. So there … More The Cover
Man Ray once said if you don’t like something, then turn away from it. Just shut up and go to the next thing. I’m paraphrasing. Maybe it wasn’t even Man Ray. The last week of term. Impossible for me to critique one more thing. I read my workshop stories and don’t have one single useful … More Man Ray
I’ve been thinking about this one story since I was 22 years old, but I never wrote it before. Okay, I wrote a nonfiction version. I wrote a fictional third person version, told as a report. I gave it up. And then Kerry showed us the short story, Axolotl, by Julio Cortázar. And Margery said … More Axolotl and the defiance of thought
I didn’t spend my Julia Child week sipping mint juleps, but I did have fun. Last month writer Karen Karbo made a request. Karen’s book Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life has just come out. She was looking for bloggers to choose one of Julia Child’s axioms, to apply it for a week and … More My Julia Child Week, not all mint juleps, but still.
I’ve hardly looked at my current novel since I’ve been in school. Today I got it out and now I remember why. Suddenly most of the day is gone, and I don’t want to do anything else but write the story. I don’t want to grade papers, I don’t to do homework, I don’t want … More I don’t want to.
Most of the others in my writing workshop took a lit class in “the uncanny.” When we read stories, they always see that. They see the blurring of dreams and reality; they see the Gothic. I, on the other hand, watch a lot of detective shows. I read, seeing crime. Get out the yellow tape.