It is almost upon us.

December 14, 2014 § Leave a comment


The season when the world stops.

And reaches for the pan at the back of the cupboard,

the one used once a year to bake

Nana’s cake.


We celebrate the familiar.

Gather those we love if we can.

Miss those who are gone more keenly.

Give ourselves a dispensation from the grind.

It can wait.


And the music in every store turns jingly

And we dream of snow to celebrate a birth

in a dusty, dry and snowless place

or we forget that birth and embrace instead

our families, our neighbors. « Read the rest of this entry »

The secret life of the alphabet.

December 7, 2014 § 2 Comments


I spend most days creating characters out of words—which is pretty abstract.

Even more abstract are the words themselves, figments of the collective imagination of a set of symbols called the alphabet.

Each letter is translated to sound in the mind, but a letter also exists in its own right as a shape on the page, a shape with an attitude, a personality.

Take A for instance. A is confrontational. Note the wide stance, the arms crossed on the chest. A is adamant, stubborn and tough. Being a writer who struggles with confrontations I’d diffuse A’s anger by bringing B into the scene.

B is that bosomy older woman who will hug the mad right out of anyone, even a hot head like A.

C shows up in my stories a lot. Open, receptive, a good listener. Having C in a story allows the writer to turn exposition into dialogue making critics less likely to ding them for loading up on exposition and backstory.

D is that dandy who thinks he’s all-that—note the straight back and the thrown out chest. Writing D I’d like to give him a secret fear, something to make him, if not likable at least more human, but I have a hard time getting past the smell of his cologne. « Read the rest of this entry »

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