“How to” Will Never Create Art

On Writing

“It’s only when a man gets to the point of a gun in his mouth that he can see the whole world inside of his head. Anything else is conjecture, conjecture and bullshit and pamphlets.” Welcome back, Charles Bukowski. The “poet laureate of L.A. low-life” doesn’t pull punches, nor should any writer, or what’s the […]

Why You Shouldn’t Worry about Thinking outside the Box

No one should worry about thinking outside the box. Because THINKING is the box! Worry about that, instead. As fiction writers, we needn’t worry personally about the existential angst that “thinking is the box!” might stir up. But we should concern ourselves with how “thinking” relates to the journeys of our characters. And it goes […]

On the Road with the Refugees

Portrait of Syrian girls sleeping on the refugee train

I snapped this shot as I traveled from Budapest to Munich last week. I look at the photo now with some shame. After days worrying about getting caught up in migrant mayhem—of perhaps getting trapped in Budapest and meeting with violence and missing our flight home—what finally did I discover at the dark heart of […]

What Makes a Book Worth Reading

Caitlin Hicks

What makes a book worth reading? A Theory of Expanded Love, for instance. This coming-of-age novel by Caitlin Hicks plays out in the months between two famous deaths—Pope John XXIII and President Kennedy, in 1963. I caught up with Caitlin Hicks to discuss issues important to fiction writers. “What’s your book about, Caitlin? What’s its […]

How (un)Smart Should a Writer Be?

How unSmart 2

If you’ve been reading my deep travel tales, you’ll know how un-smart I am. Count the times I’ve been run down on the road less traveled! I was barely home from my travels in Africa and Asia when the gods pulled a U-turn and made roadkill of me yet again. I was filming in the […]

The Virus that Ate my Brain

Virus ate my brain

Every writer should be so lucky as to have an idea virus eat their brain. Here’s how it happens: First you catch it. Then you get it. Once you’ve got it, you can kiss your old self goodbye. This is the story of how existence conspired to throw the book at me—literally—and infect me with […]

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