Many authors are told to write about their personal experiences. Others advocate for good research as a substitute for “been there, done that.” Whatever your philosophy, most agree that writing about the human heart makes sense. There are universal traits that transcend borders and inspire and engage. Kindness, fear and love are just a few examples. Sometimes the process of getting words on paper may be less about selling a work and instead helping someone cope or celebrate. That’s my reason for writing tonight. I am sad and wanted to express myself by reflecting on the loss of a good and decent man. One dayRead More →

Anyone who attends workshops or reads articles about becoming a better writer has no doubt heard the message that word goals and schedules are important. You need to write before you have something you can sell. How you get the magic to appear on paper is another issue altogether with variations aplenty. Some outline. Others see where the first words lead them. Night owls say goodnight as the larks commence their morning workout at the typewriter. Some folks write here and there. Others throw themselves into a project for months at a time.  Some are calm.  Some are frenetic. The important thing is to discover what makes sense for you, acknowledging that yourRead More →

I finally got a chance to watch the biopic about screenwriter and author Dalton Trumbo and am glad I did. Bryan Cranston served his real life model well by portraying this Hollywood blacklist member as a man of principle. While I disdain communism for lots of reasons, I do believe in free speech and understand that the politically charged era of the late 1940’s was beyond difficult for many who were ousted for their views. Regardless of one’s philosophy, an aspiring writer can readily look to this prolific artist for lessons about perseverance and discipline. According to Biography.com, Dalton Trumbo was “one of the mostRead More →

A recent trip to the beauty salon turned out to be an exercise in frustration. Instead of relaxing in between deadlines, I found it impossible to tune out two loud customers. Droning on for several hours, they chatted as if they were catching up on twenty years instead of just a few days. Believe me when I say I learned much more about their lives than I ever cared to know. What made things even worse was their nearly constant use of what speech professionals refer to as the “vocal fry.” If you aren’t sure what I mean, check out this two minute video starring comedian Faith Salie. Be warned. Your ears will hurt. AccordingRead More →

According to a recent email from the Authors Guild, there is a worldwide campaign to call attention to the impact of writers on the lives of others. Begun as the brainchild of the Writers’ Union of Canada, readers and authors are invited to reflect on this topic and then post their thoughts to #WhyWritersMatter. Coincidentally, I had already begun an essay about Mark Twain and his observations of the cultural zeitgeist of the late 19th century. The catalyst was my “eureka” moment during a tour of the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. Until then, I did not know that Samuel Langhorne Clemens (his real name) had coined the term “Gilded Age” to decry his view ofRead More →

“The Meddler” with Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne is not just a heartwarming tale of a widow and her daughter. It’s a sweet yet effective reminder that one is never too old to make a difference. The power of kindness is immense and the film’s screenwriter Lorene Scafaria does a terrific job in bringing that point home. Based on the true story of her mother’s loss and a desire to stay relevant and connected, this 2016 movie packs a lot into 100 minutes – humor, sadness, love, friendship, risk-taking, introspection and romance. According to an article in Variety, this screenwriter and director “wrote it as a way to process”Read More →

As most authors will attest, writing can be a lonely and frustrating endeavor and financial rewards are uncertain. A rational person might conclude that putting pen to paper is an exercise in futility if viewed only from an economic lens. Fortunately for readers, the artist’s hunger to flex creative muscles or a desire to make a difference with words ensures a continued supply of books and articles. This reality does not necessarily mean that what gets published will sell well or reflects talent or both. It does however mean that lots of people want their proverbial voices heard and are willing to incur an opportunityRead More →