How Many Writers Does It Take…

Artist: Gerrit Dou

“How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?” Funny how quickly a “light bulb” joke gets you chuckling.  You don’t even need a punch line.  Which proved to my advantage recently when I began a presentation leaving the question hanging.  Some wise guy in the audience supplied an answer.  Perfect.  It left […]

A Writer’s Faith


It’s a full moon rising over western Tanzania.   The ragged ribbon of moonlight you see down there—that’s a rough and tumble highway known affectionately in south-central Africa as the Hell Run.  And that 5-ton truck—look closer—it’s a load of car tires in a metal cage.  At the wheel is a hungry looking Tanzanian and riding […]

Writing and the Will of God

Saint Francis of Assisi

You’re a fictional character. Your writer—let’s call her a “she”—is doing all she can to hurt you.  Trust me, I know it hurts, because I’m a writer just like she is.  We make sure it hurts. Your writer is only doing what all good writers do, which is to write you into a dead-end, all […]

Tragedy’s Silver Lining

Silver Linings Playbook

“We feel an unforeseen relief at the end of the tragedy.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis  There’s a compelling scene in Silver Linings Playbook where the bi-polar protagonist (Patrick) feels anything but “relief” while reading the final pages of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.  Patrick hurls the book through a (closed) window.  At four o’clock in […]

It’s Greek to Me

Zorba the Buddha

“By believing passionately in something which still does not exist, we create it.” You know, I just can’t quite get my head around that kind of mumbo-jumbo.  “The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” Who am I to refute such optimism?  Neither am I able to promote it. That said, just last week […]

Writers Can’t Talk

Zorba the Greek

Writers don’t always relish public speaking. But we sure love to put words in other people’s mouths. Author, Nikos Kazantzakis, for instance.  In Zorba the Greek, Zorba and the anal Englishman, Basil, are strolling past the widow’s house.  Zorba notices her in the window, then, excited for Basil… ZORBA:  Boss!  Listen—you knock—you say, ‘I have […]

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