Category Archives: Words

Vanity

(This essay was originally posted in July 2016) “Writing is very silly business at best.” John Steinbeck I can’t say it any better than Mr. Steinbeck. Recently, I’ve thought about what my answer would be if I were asked, “Why … Continue reading

Posted in 2016, 2018, Words | Comments Off on Vanity

Unpacking Prose

“…I asked novelists…what it felt like when they went into a novel. None of them wanted to know what I meant by into.” Margaret Atwood, Negotiating with the Dead One of the unnamed novelists who were asked this question said … Continue reading

Posted in 2018, Words | Comments Off on Unpacking Prose

Mincing Words (and Writers)

“There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine: ‘Wanting to meet a writer because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.’” Margaret Atwood, Negotiating with the Dead … Continue reading

Posted in 2017, Words | Comments Off on Mincing Words (and Writers)

A Writer’s Womb

INTERVIEWER You start with a character in mind. Does that character change as you go along? Take Sophie’s Choice for example.   STYRON There’s a scene near the beginning of Sophie’s Choice about Sophie’s childhood in Poland, and she begins to talk about … Continue reading

Posted in 2017, Words | Comments Off on A Writer’s Womb

Heart to Heart

Clarissa takes one of Richard’s hands in hers. She is surprised, even now, at how frail it is—how palpably it resembles a bundle of twigs. He says, “Here we are. Don’t you think?” “Pardon me?” “We’re middle-aged and we’re young … Continue reading

Posted in 2017, Words | Comments Off on Heart to Heart

Unnecessary Wear and Tear

“To me, it’s all about perceptions, perceptions about life or human nature or the way something looks or the way something sounds. Two or three of them on a page in a notebook, that’s what it’s really all about. Getting … Continue reading

Posted in 2017, Words | Comments Off on Unnecessary Wear and Tear

Stock-In-Trade

Stock-in-trade: something that someone or something does or makes very well and often. So I bought this stock a few years ago. It seemed like a sure thing. The company was developing a technology that might revolutionize early treatment of … Continue reading

Posted in 2016, Words | Comments Off on Stock-In-Trade

Reentry

reentry noun 1. an act of reentering; 2. the return from outer space into the earth’s atmosphere Too fast Out of control Charred Or only scorched Reentry to the land of the living From a flight of fancy Fuel exhausted … Continue reading

Posted in 2016, Words | Comments Off on Reentry

The Tyro

tyro, noun, a beginner in learning anything; novice. The Fourth Edition of The Elements of Style includes a section titled, An Approach to Style, supplied by E. B. White – every writer’s colleague and friend – who brought us Professor … Continue reading

Posted in 2015, Words | Comments Off on The Tyro