Tag Archives: creative writing

One Shall Be Taken

Two horses–look again– Winged, like cherubim– Watering at a marble trough, Ivy in riot about them. Reality? Silence, bones Saline, a coffin–not a trough– And a tale in the main that Had been uneven, rough, harsh. I’d have done it differently. This … Continue reading

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Embrace Chance?

In a collection of art essays by Roger Kimball titled Art’s Prospect (Ivan R. Dee 2003) is an essay on a Matisse exhibit in which Kimball writes the following (151): [Matisse] arrived [in Morocco in 1912] in the rainy season, … Continue reading

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A Creation Story

__________ It seems to have started as an argument. Nothing became something, rapidly expanding to a whole laundry list of things. Separation and settlement followed. Over time things cooled. Mother got her planets, Father took to the stars. As in any divorce, vast … Continue reading

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Bringing Darwin Into Your Fiction: A Few Things Creative Writers Might Consider

A key element in Charles Darwin’s thought is that survival and the opportunity to reproduce attends the fittest and the sexiest. Think about this Darwinian insight in relation to your writing: what would a Darwinian reading of your story notice? … Continue reading

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Dance With Me (In The Interpretation Of Lines From Yeats)

When reading something, guessing about an author’s exact state of mind is sometimes tricky, but it’s still fun to play. Take for instance William Butler Yeats’s poem, “Among School Children.” The Yale literary critic Paul de Man once noted that … Continue reading

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The Reelection Of Barack Obama (A Poem)

Sunrise, seven November, the seventh day. Rest. Gumby, pushing sixty, Enters his yoga studio by the glass door, gliding slowly. Pokey, waiting in Corpse Pose, says, I voted Romney. Big Gum: I did too. At the back window A bat leaves its cave, circles tightly, … Continue reading

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Larry David’s Genius, and Masturbating “with a 104 Degree Temperature”

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One of Ayn Rand’s Questions: What’s the Relationship of Art to Concepts?

Two novels-of-ideas by Ayn Rand (1905-1982)–The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957)–and the individualist and pro-capitalist positions that she laid out over the course of her lifetime under a philosophical system she created and designated “objectivism,” have had an outsized … Continue reading

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A Quote for Writers: Jodi Picoult on Writer’s Block

The author of Lone Wolf doesn’t believe in writer’s block: I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it—when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper … Continue reading

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What the Lightning Said: My Definition of Art

Art, by my definition, is a report of what the lightning said. It’s bound up with the ontological mystery (the mystery of being itself); an artist’s attempt to represent to others an experience of that mystery (what it feels like … Continue reading

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Negotiation of the Detour: The Pervert’s Guide to the Origin of Rhetoric

Accompanied by a black and white dog, a huntress, not young, steps from a blue grove into the dawn light. It’s spring; we are outside of Athens in 508 BC. Pericles will not be born for another 13 years. The … Continue reading

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Short Story: “The Temptation of Saint Irony”

It’s the year of your Lord, 1437; it’s summer; the sun is at high noon, and you’re in the countryside outside Genoa. A tonsured monk in a black robe approaches you, reaching for the hem of your garment. You step … Continue reading

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Advice for Dying Fathers (Contra Dylan Thomas)

_____ Leaves cling, do not go gently, but go just The same. The signal is yellow; the alive Are always downcast before being cast down. Look! The green team winning all summer Is starting to lose badly, going bald in The stunning … Continue reading

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Close Literary Reading 101: Thinking about How Stories End

I thought it might be fun (at least for me) to lay out, in a series of short blog posts, some of the basic terms and ideas that I present to my students when talking about the “close reading” of literary texts. … Continue reading

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Why Read Literature or Watch Good Films? Martha Nussbaum on the Role of the Imagination in the Cultivation of Empathy

Here’s a great quote from Martha Nussbaum’s new book, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law  (Oxford 2010, xvii): That ‘terrified’ gay teenager needs, and deserves, equal respect, and a sphere of liberty equal to that enjoyed by … Continue reading

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Christopher Hitchens, Henry David Thoreau, and Peitho

Christopher Hitchens was recently interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, and offered an interesting tidbit on a rhetorical strategy that tends to work for him: [W]hen I write, as often as I can, I try to write as if I’m talking to people. It … Continue reading

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Rod Serling is the Devil!

Not literally, of course. But it occurred to me this morning that Rod Serling’s appeal as a guide to his Twilight Zone episodes is this: he functions as a sublimated devil, the camara darting him into visual consciousness out of nowhere. Serling is a Virgil, but not … Continue reading

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Entering the Twilight Zone via Solitude and Day Dreaming, and Maybe Meeting the Devil (or Rod Serling)

Last week, I wrote a meditative piece on the role that solitude plays in the life of the mind, and how I felt it to be akin to entering Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone (see here). I suggested that if you expose … Continue reading

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“The Prophet”: a poem by Santi Tafarella

Beauty is the first ugliness in line, making those behind blind. The candle’s orange tongue, declaring for God, assures darkness is elsewhere. Your truth is a mask for an undisclosed motive.

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Close Literary Reading 101: Some Terms and Ideas for Thinking about Dramatic Structure

I thought it might be fun (at least for me) to lay out, in a series of short blog posts, some of the basic terms and ideas that I present to my students when talking about the “close reading” of literary texts. … Continue reading

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