The luthier

He hears in his head the rich, sweet note that has never been heard. The single, slow stroke from the bow sustained, before the bow is conceived. How can it be brought forth? he wonders. His heels crunch fallen leaves on the forest trail. His right hand on his cane, his left caressing the bark of…

Words like violence break the silence

Ideas continue to bubble up, and sometimes desire. But there is no time, and not much energy. Writing feels like something I used to do, a long time ago. The actors always convince me, to my horror, that most of what I’ve written about them until now is false. It is false because I write…

Where to begin

Consider the arrival of a new tenant to a basement apartment. He is a young man in his late twenties. He has a goatee and sideburns, because the year is 1998, and most young men of that time had those things on their face. He wears jeans and a t-shirt, has very few belongings, all…

Once upon A TIME

When I was a kid, maybe 6 or 7, I found a cheap sci-fi paperback in a store called Mott’s 5-and-Dime. That makes me sound like, really old, starting a post off at a 5-and-Dime, but I think it was the 5-and-Dime that was old, not me. Anyhoo, we used to go there for school…

The Art Inside

In his youth, he’d read a quote attributed to Michelangelo. The artist had answered the question of how he’d sculpted his masterpiece by saying he hadn’t sculpted anything at all. He had only chipped away enough stone to reveal the sculpture inside. The quote stayed with him. The Grand Canyon, too, was a beautiful thing…

Living on the Page

R.V. Cassill, in his book Writing Fiction, which is a book I’m a little obsessed with of late and which I’ve recently written about here and here, kind of makes it pretty clear that the thought of trying to make a living writing fiction is a bit of a pipe dream for all but a…

A quick fable about writing

A young man climbed a hill to find a teacher. He handed the teacher a page he’d written. The teacher read it and handed it back saying, “You try too hard. Come back when you find a more natural way.” The next week the young man climbed the hill again and handed a new page…

Penguin Classics and the downfall of modern literacy.

I’ve been a bookseller for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of books come and go. There are some great ones out there. And there are some not so great ones. The really great ones last tens, twenties, thirties of years. Hundreds of years. Sometimes thousands. The ones that are not so good…well they fade away.…

Watching the New Star Wars Teaser With My Daughters

The girls weren’t listening to me. My wife had said to keep them out of the wet grass, but they wouldn’t keep out. Then they spilled their bubble-blowing soap on the sidewalk. “It was an accident,” they claimed. It was no accident, let me tell you. They wouldn’t stop “washing their hands” in the puddle.…