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...

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....

Poetry for Emergencies

For milestones, crises, and the unexpected

“We Lived, Felt Dawn, Saw Sunset Glow”

3 Min read Memorial Day Vietnam War Toolbox: Speech writing and public speaking Creative nonfiction / True story Poetry for Emergencies * Last fall I received a request to be the speaker for Memorial Day. I was surprised and then I let it sink in. Me? The Local VFW...

That Teacher, You Know the One

5 Min read Poetry for Emergencies: E.E. Cummings On music: J.S. Bach Commencement speech * * Let's take a moment for teachers. That teacher, you know the one. Because, I have a confession to make. In the lottery of life and learning, if you're lucky then you have one,...

On Poetry, Spring, and Transition

4 Min read Poetry for emergencies 2 Poets Mary Oliver on things Lao Tzu on excess * When I moved from one house to anotherthere were many things I had no roomfor. What does one do? I rented a storagespace. And filled it. Years passed.First lines of "Storage" by Mary...

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...

Toolbox

To improve writing, ages 9 to 99

“We Lived, Felt Dawn, Saw Sunset Glow”

3 Min read Memorial Day Vietnam War Toolbox: Speech writing and public speaking Creative nonfiction / True story Poetry for Emergencies * Last fall I received a request to be the speaker for Memorial Day. I was surprised and then I let it sink in. Me? The Local VFW...

How to Improve Your Writing – Part 1: from Tolstoy to Grohl

9 min read 1 English textbook 1 Book rec 1 Style Guide 4 Writers: Tolstoy to Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters) Improve writing immediately, ages 9 to 99 Toolbox AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of...

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...