Honing Your Craft

  • Why has my writing changed from my first book to the present? I must say, I was daunted for a moment, as my brain has recently been spinning because of all the political hoopla being made about the word “change.” As a writer, I am quite aware of the power words have to influence change in human beings. Such documents as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Communist Manifesto, the Civil Rights Act, and others demonstrate how words can cause change that is very observable in our daily lives. Hell, the saying on my family crest in jolly old England reads, “Sans Changer,” or, “Without Change.” Change? Who needs it? The only Truths are these realities: birth, death, and change. (Notice I left out taxes). Read More

  • I’m a bit persnickety about details as a result of a poetry workshop I offer as a Road Scholar with Alabama Humanities Foundation. Based on Nabokov’s idea of caressing "the divine detail,” this workshop underscores how paralyzing with power the simple detail can be. Read More

  • In her essay “Connie May Is Going to Win the Lottery This Week” in Sonny Brewer’s new collection, Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Connie May Fowler, while talking about the awful jobs she held before being able to write full time, throws in, nearly offhandedly, “Writing is a rough vocation made all the more difficult by changing delivery systems, archaic business models, and imploding economies. You write your heart out and some clown you don’t know takes a sucker punch at you in the media, and manners and tradition dictate that you remain silent.”

    To the best of my knowledge, I have never reviewed a book by Fowler, so I am not, literally, the clown she is referring to, but I have reviewed several hundred other books, so I am surely that “clown” to some writers. Read More