Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

Writing Life

Words Change the World

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We […]

Inputs and Outputs

When you can’t write, read. Not writing is a function of not reading.

Practice Makes Perfect Sense

Write for what it does to you. Seek pleasure over product. It’s you being you.

The Sound and the Fury

There is so much noise in the culture. Like a bullhorn that blasts all manner of brilliance and buffoonery. (Which is taking your desire for alliteration too far. But even so.) You stick your head into the mind torrent because you think you need to. You crave real-time connection. Even if when that connection is […]

To Be Seen

“For I lull nobody, and you will never understand me.” -Walt Whitman, “Did You Ask Dulcet Rhymes from Me?,” Drum Taps: The Complete Civil War Poems Why be a writer and not care whether one is comprehended? There can be only one answer: the act is for the actor.

Patience

Every good thing you do for yourself leads you back to writing.

Purpose

Tom was here. In the end, that is all you are doing — leaving proof of your existence. Yours. And his. And your dog’s. Because you can and they can’t.

Give a Girl a Break

“You always hear about the comedian who wants to play Hamlet. I think writers are probably something like that, too. What fun is it for Frank Deford to write about a guy like Frank Deford?” -Frank Deford, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter, “Naked Slept the Commissioner” I saw her coming for more than […]

When You Are Lost

The way back to you is always available through the words on pages. And it doesn’t take long. The ultimate shortcut. You can get there from here.

A Few Extra Pounds

The memory is powerful. More so than you give it credit for. When you wade around in that pool, be careful and be kind. You are already processing so much in present time. It takes not a lot more to be too much — to be enough to short your circuits. Maintain mental boundaries as […]

Keep Showing Up

Do not doubt your decisions even if they do not produce immediate results. Keep on. It’s the daily repetitions that get you there. Nothing today does. Do enough to know you are working but not so much that you don’t want to work tomorrow. Time. Just put in the time. The results will come.

The Key

“When the ruling power within us is in harmony with nature, it confronts events in such a way that it always adapts itself readily to what is feasible and is granted to it. For it attaches its preference to no specific material; rather, it sets out to attain its primary objects, but not without reservation, […]

Embrace the Messiness

You never liked to get your hands dirty. Even as a child in the sandbox, you did not like messes. Life, of course, is not always tidy. Seldom is. Embrace — rather than run from — this fact. Illness is part of life. Illness is messy. Ergo, to be always clean is not to live. […]

Expression

Speak when it’s your turn. Not before. And only if you have something to say. Sometimes there is a delay. This is perfectly OK.

Let Go of the Good Stuff

There is a phrase that comes up in seemingly every writer’s workshop in North America: Kill your darlings. (Or sometimes the more violent “murder your darlings.”) Conjure an image of a pipe-smoking male, or a neck-scarf-wearing woman, at the front of a class espousing this unassailable mantra of good writing. In response, you can see […]

The Answer

Whenever you question what you shall do remember what makes you feel most alive and least aware of everything else: the work. The writing. What absorbs you without draining you — the body gives you the results and your mind registers the score. Trust in this absolutely and actively shun all challengers who would otherwise […]

Pleasure Principle

“Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.” -Henry Miller, Henry Miller on Writing (1964) Enjoy the process. And if you’re not remember this: you can always enjoy the process. One of the most liberating truths is the notion that you can change your mindset. Your beliefs are always on the table. For the longest […]

Stay Close

A project gets harder the longer you put it off. If you do not have the energy to tackle it just now, worry not. Then pick it up anyway. Take a look at it, even if for a moment. “Stay close to it,” a writing friend once advised. She was talking about what to do […]

Get Your Reps In

In writing, in lifting, in life, there is a tension: to do enough. Progress is most easily achieved in small daily doses of moderate to low intensity. You must push yourself. A little. Not too far. You can’t stay comfortable. But you can get so uncomfortable that you don’t pick up the pen, the bar, […]

The Dance

You only need to counteract self-restriction twice: 1. In order to begin. 2. In order to continue. Once you begin to lift or write there is usually a moment some minutes in during which you consider stopping lifting or writing. If you let this inquisition go, if you do not indulge the idea that you […]