Writing Features

The Music in Prose

The best writing and what makes it sing

An Alabama Road

3 Min read Music Writing for the senses Songwriting AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY Each singer stepped towards the front of the stage, put a hand on the mike, and burst into five-part harmony. There are stars in the southern skySouthward as you goThere is moonlight and...

Town Mouse and Country Mouse

9 Min read 3 book recs 1 film rec True story: Coffee with "Josh" The Music in Prose: Willa Cather on town and country Wordnerd special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * The town mouse and the country mouse. Distress and agitation of the town mouse. Meditations, Book...

Living Outside the Page

5 Min read Pickleball 3 short books by prize-winning authors Historical fiction, fiction, nonfiction AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * If I don't write things down, they haven't been carried through to completion, they have only been lived. Annie Ernaux * Happy 2024! I...

The Music in the Stories: Pavan on Borges

7 Min read Book rec, three Borges stories Argentine composer and guitarist Carlos Pavan Literature: song and story Perfect memory Music in Prose * AVAILABLE NOW ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * Probably you were expecting a young and handsome Argentine, but then here I am, the...

Beyond Grade-School Sentences: Adding Depth and Texture to Writing

4 Min read Depth and texture in writing Cumulative and suspensive sentences The Music in Prose: Ernest Hemingway, Vivian Gornick, Ralph Waldo Emerson Crayon packs and colors Toolbox, improve writing immediately * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * Grade-school...

Classic Prose: Thought and Presentation

4 min read 2 Book recs Toolbox, improve writing immediately Music in Prose, Ocean Vuong * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * In the classic stand on the elements of style, writing is neither a way of thinking something out nor an art that exists for its own sake....

Belief Is a Powerful Elixir

4 Min read 1 Essay collection, Maya Angelou Music as a gift AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes * Believe in me and I can do anything. It's a powerful thing, belief. If a person believes in you, you can move mountains. As a child when I asked why I had bent fingers,...

Poetry for Emergencies

For milestones, crises, and the unexpected

Involved and Implicated: Narcissism and Poetry

6 Min read Poetry on a December afternoon 1 Book rec Word nerd special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify If you're like me, you can use a bit of poetry. I've had a few days to consider this collection, its after shocks, surprised at my evolving response. Tony Hoagland's...

What’s in Your Trunk?

5 Min read New England's largest flea market* Poetry for Emergencies--on the folly of fame, legacy, empire Sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley Book rec on writing song lyrics Toolbox, use 7 senses to improve writing** Texan king in a cow pasture AVAILABLE ON PODCAST...

Fall is Like a Country Music Song

3 Min read Music and memory Norman Blake, Colter Wall Poetry for Emergencies * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes * I'm listening to Colter Wall, titles like Corralling the Blues, Sleeping on the Asphalt, and The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie. I'm a late-comer to new...

Trailway to Heaven

3 Min read Poetry for Emergencies Autumn Farewell to a friend AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * Fall is my favorite season and I suppose it has something to do with trees. Today I walked through the cool, damp woods to my mother's house, listening to gentle rhythms in...

The Edgeless Sound and the Night Owl

2 Min read Poetry for Emergencies Leonard Cohen Roshi's Poem The Poe Arch - Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Gateway AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes * TreeHouse view of dawn * The book falls open to Roshi's Poem. Though I had already read it, in my hurry up the stairs I...

Prescription for Life and Rumi’s Cow

2 Min read 1 Memoir, Short Take Poetry for Emergencies Rumi, Mystic Poet * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes Dx, Rx. You may recognize these as abbreviations for Diagnosis (Dx) and Prescription (Rx). Melody Moezzi writes how the poet and mystic helped her deal with...

Books I Love

5 Min read 17 Books, 19.5 including mentions in footnotes Genres: Memoir, Essays, Fiction, Writing, Love, Poetry, War Toolbox, Texture in writing Contemporary and classic books from the top of my stacks, my more current reading. * The most common question I get is,...

Toolbox

To improve writing, ages 9 to 99

On Flesh-Eating Beetles and Sins of the Mother

7 Min read Sense writing: traditional five plus two more 2 Reading recs: historical novel and story 1 Writing guide Improve writing immediately Toolbox, ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * Writing Through the Seven Senses When I'm working on an aspect of my...

Spooky Hour with Spirits of the Dead

6 min read Word Work 2 Lexicons: Webster's NID 2nd Ed and Shorter OED 1 Book rec Halloween, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day Fall mocktail, easy and delicious AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY Lakeview Cemetery next to my father's grave * No pressure but what are you doing...

What’s in Your Trunk?

5 Min read New England's largest flea market* Poetry for Emergencies--on the folly of fame, legacy, empire Sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley Book rec on writing song lyrics Toolbox, use 7 senses to improve writing** Texan king in a cow pasture AVAILABLE ON PODCAST...

Confusables, Contronyms, and Jane’s Potato Salad

2 Min read Word Nerd special Humor and the paraprosdokian Usage manual rec - The authority on grammar, usage, and style Essay rec - DFW on assignment to research the above lexicon and the Usage Wars AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * The limits of my language means the...

Beyond Grade-School Sentences: Adding Depth and Texture to Writing

4 Min read Depth and texture in writing Cumulative and suspensive sentences The Music in Prose: Ernest Hemingway, Vivian Gornick, Ralph Waldo Emerson Crayon packs and colors Toolbox, improve writing immediately * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * Grade-school...

The Master Sentence and the Centenarian

5 Min Read One book rec Punctuation guide Sentence construction Language Lover and Word Nerd Special Toolbox, ages 9 to 109 * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * A master sentence tends to be long though length is not its sole characteristic, nor is it a sign of a...

Three Days in Sun Valley and the Best Writing Teacher

5 Min read Book rec Photo journal Ernest Hemingway Pioneer Cabin Trail hike Foodie highlights Toolbox, to improve writing for ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE IN PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes * All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know. A...