Emphasis on Retreat: the Last Two Weeks

The following is about the last two weeks, at times a Herculean effort on Ela’s part, while at times an Ovidian exile for me. Now that it’s over, I think Ela’s mother put it best, when she said, “You two will always remember getting married.” In her own witty way, […]

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how I create characters

How I Create Characters

Let’s assume I’m this world-renowned author, with aspiring writers from around the world flocking to me for advice. I have this wild, white beard from years of paying attention to other people, a colorful yet tasteful garb over my head to prevent ideas from spilling out, and a voice as […]

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what would you change

If you could, what would you change?

I hear Alan Watt’s voice talking about not changing anything, because it is impossible. Maybe the way things are are the way things ought to be. Then, I hear Michael Jackson’s voice saying if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make […]

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if the US stopped existing

If the US stopped existing . . .

America is a pretty important place. And yes I call it America, because that is how I grew up hearing it. I like the name, too, what’s there to say. A-mer-i-ca. Merica. Murica.   If it suddenly stopped existing, which if we believe what anyone says, could be any day […]

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why I write

An exercise in self-definition: why I write

What if I told you a story?   Breakfast with mamá, galleria area Houston, 2014 — the year I came back home to live with my parents.   She hints at my finding a job as casually as she stirs the sugar in her coffee. I ruffle my nose. It […]

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artistic prostitution

Artistic Prostitution: the Bottom Line

This blogger knows he is about to walk through a room cluttered with cliches (ex, “Art for art’s sake,” “Business is an art,” “Selling out,” “Get ya money”), but stepping past each one, eyeing them a second, so as to reach the clear corner of the room, to breathe.   […]

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poetic speech

Food, enstranged

Have you ever wondered what makes a great piece of literature? Theorist Viktor Shlovsky believed that what a good story was was this, one that sticks around, plays with us, remains. However, to achieve that “long-lasting effect” in a work of art takes a specific set of devices. Like poetic […]

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451. “What Have You Made Yourself?”

In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”   2:31 PM. Brooklyn cafe, big windows. Lots of sunlight, rain and snow flakes. A friend of mine commented on a guy she likes and said he only concerns himself with his work. “I want […]

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403. “What Would You Like To Have Memorized?”

(Feature photo: “The Guidonian Hand,” a mnemonic device to aid the learning of sight singing; a precursor of Tonic Sol-fa; devised by the Guido di Arezzo.) In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”   403. “What Would You Like To Have Memorized?” […]

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Does Santa Cry?

ivanBRAVE_DoesSantaCry_900words Deep in the heart of downtown Hanoi, I walked down to the hostel lounge for some cheap breakfast. There, among a handful of hungover backpackers, I turned to what I thought would be the next empty page in my moleskin notebook. What I found, at the top left corner […]

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Travel Writing

Write, fly; fly, write. I love stories where the setting and the characters don’t seem to match up perfectly. This can lead to conflict, learning, love, or a laugh. All it takes to swoon an audience–around a campfire, or by candle light–is the voice of a skilled author to tell […]

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Latin Words & Phrases

To the sophisticated and well-versed reader, below you will find a list of useful Latin words and phrases from the Art of Manliness. Which one from the list is your favorite?   Latin Words and Phrases Every Man Should Know (from Art of Manliness) Mine, from the list: nosce te […]

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