Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Monthly Archives: June 2008

* Unrelated to Writing

It’s that time of year again, when Mark and I join the SF AIDS Walk. They’ve got a very nice donation system up, and if you want to help out, you can sponsor me with any amount… every little bit helps. We have made lots of progress towards helping those suffering from AIDS, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done. Thanks for anything you can do–and sorry, I won’t hijack this space that often. :)


I love stuff like this. It’s all real! Huge counterweights inside buildings that cause earthquakes!

How To Practice Your Writing Every Day

Life is complicated. You want to think that the guy who just cut you off in traffic is just a jerk. You want to be the victim or the hero in all of the little stories you live every day. And sometimes you are, sure. Sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you’re both wrong, or both right, or both just operating under bad assumptions.

Take a moment and step into the other person’s shoes. This is what every good writer has to be able to do. You need to see things from other points of view. Maybe the guy in traffic is a jerk who needs to get ahead of other people. What kind of insecurities make him that way? How does it manifest at his job, in his relationships, his life? There’s a character for your next story.

Remembrance of Things Past

You can always count on Garrison Keillor for some nice, lyrical writing. On the rising price of gas and the falling stock of Winnebago, in Salon:

So when gas passes $5 and heads for $8 and $10, we will learn to sit in dim light with our loved ones and talk about hunting and fishing adventures, about war and romance and times of consummate foolishness when we threw caution to the wind and flung ourselves over the Cliffs of Desire and did not land on the Sharp Rocks of Regret.

I’ll tell you about the motor home trip and how lovely it was, cruising the prairie at night and drinking beer, stopping by a little creek and grilling fish on a Coleman stove, listening to coyotes. The vanishing of the R.V. only makes your story more interesting. One thing lost, something else gained. Life is like that.

I’m Bleak!

This is probably the only time I’ll be on a list with Cormac McCarthy…

Nice to see my books out there on sites like this, though. :)