Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

Writing Life


As in a voyage, when the ship is at anchor, if you go on shore to get water, you may amuse yourself with picking up a shell-fish or a truffle in your way, but your thoughts ought to be bent towards the ship, and perpetually attentive, lest the captain should call, and then you must […]


Writing turns the wheel. Eating makes it go. Exercise keeps you strong so you can stay on course. Sleep allows you to recover so that you may turn the wheel again.

This Space

To journal is to make space for thinking. Give yourself permission not to produce or curate. You do well with modest expectations. A journal is a tool, not a product. It’s what it does for you — not what you make of it. Worry not about the state of your journal. Focus on the state […]


To start is sometimes the hardest part. Start as soon as you can. Start slowly. Start modestly. Resist the notion to take on a task as a whole. You do not walk without taking more than one step. You do not draft an article or essay without writing more than one sentence. Workouts take several […]


So little of life comes at you in sensible bits. All these noises and waves and wind and words and shades of light come at you, flow through you, at rate faster than you can possibly comprehend — it’s all too much for the senses to do much with any of it. You can coral […]

Write This Way

Use your writing not to publish something tomorrow, next year, whenever but rather to help you live today.


Write not to express or produce or — egads — attract attention but rather because when you do you touch the source. When we do what we’re here to do the act pleases the part of us that is tied to all of us.

Try (But Not Too Hard)

Effort is important. So is ease. In the sweet spot you know both. (Lifting is like this. Writing is like this. Life is like this.)


Recall when you were a boy at The Lake. At various points around the shore, including at the edge of your backyard, near the wooden bridge, stood the water wheelies. Writing is your version of those white donuts roped to the red sticks that stood always for anyone who may need to be saved. You […]

First Steps

The first thing you do when you wake is important. The instinct is to move slowly into (or back to) the day. Instead, write right off. Go directly to the gym first thing. Walk. Prepare. Do not be anxious yet do act with purpose. What you do first sets a tone for all that follows.

Action is Character

You feel like a writer when you do writerly things. It doesn’t take long to forget who you are.

Riddle Wrapped in a Paradox

What do you do if your mode is to write but there is no part of you that wishes to write?

Who Do You Want Me to Be?

Copywriting. Press releases. I once wrote a blog as a bird for a bookstore. Who here’s got that one on their writing resume?


Essay filed. In the meantime, illness paid a visit. Nothing serious, nothing that could not be endured, certainly nothing of the order of which many deal daily, but enough to cause a downshift in gears. Is there any moment better in life than the one in which your become newly aware malady is on its […]


This space has been vacated of late as my meager writing bandwidth is being taken up by an essay I am writing for a regional magazine. I will note the occasion of its publication at that time.

Give Up the Dream

Sometimes an utterance — whether an essay, a book review, a personal communication, whatever — comes to mind with such clarity. It makes me giddy. It’s about all I can think about. Or want to. For an hour or more. In my head, it’s forceful or sweet or tender or provocative. But then … when […]


I am trying to draft an essay. I am putting pressure on myself to make it good. This is not advised. First drafts and good are mutually exclusive. When I start an essay I am cranky until I have a solid draft. When I have a solid draft, I can fly. I can edit and […]

Preparation Not Procrastination

Looking for something to listen to as I dosed off — something that didn’t involve Trump news — I stumbled last night upon close to the opposite: “Roy’s Writing Tools,” a “podcast” version of the Poynter Institute’s Roy Peter Clark’s book, Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Exactly eleven years ago today tool […]


Mindfulness is all the rage right now. Maybe it’s the contrarian in me, but for some time I have noticed a mild but adverse reaction arise inside when I hear that word. This even though I know — even though I have seen in my own life — that locating oneself in the present brings […]

Failure Is Definitely An Option

One thing I’m going to have to face is the fact that I’m going to come up short in this life. I am going to fail to create what I am capable of creating. Or — either that — I am not as capable as I think I am. I am not sure which it […]