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When the Community has a Voice

Let’s say you’re in the office and you’re telling a story about someone.  First you talk about what the person did. Maybe it’s something juicy, like a secret infidelity with a prison inmate, or maybe it’s something subtle, like they moved away from home.  Then you go on to tell about something more recent, like, “Just…

Seeing through Layers like Blankets on a Cold Night

My father was am immigrant from Mexico.  My mother a full blood Kiowa/Cherokee from Oklahoma.  They worked the peanut and cotton fields when my sisters and I were young.  I remember ducking the large rolling water sprayers in the fields; I remember the heat coming from the dirt onto my bare feet; and I remember living…

Main Character Slam, Drop, Kick!

Revision is a little punk b#?ch!  There I am toiling away on the second draft, almost to the end of the novel and starting to think about characters in the novel (mentally preparing for the “sweeps” portion of my revision process), and then I come to realize my main character is an asshole. ArtBook ReviewsBooksFamilyFictionlifePoetryPoliticsReligionWriting

#1 Writing Rule: Be Teachable

We writers area equal parts ego and vulnerable.  The cliché is to develop a “tough skin” over the years and be able to take criticism.  But we all think we’re geniuses, and we are. Brilliant beasts who are magical at hiding our softest parts behind a shield of “I already know” and “You just don’t understand…

Capricorn Mind on Structure and Writing Process

“I gotta keep my Capricorn mind straight,” said the planet of Saturn to the writer writing this post.  Okay, so that first sentence had a weird third person shift–almost like a third person shift to a different third person gear, but the first third person perspective was oddly different from the latter, which was equally bizarre but uniquely…

Tiny Trophies Alongside the Road

Getting bogged down in the muck is an artist’s nightmare.  You’ve done the initial work.  Maybe you painted the paintings, recorded the songs, or wrote the novels, and then you have to take the creation and offer it to world.  Just when you thought you were done.  There’s a million more hurdles. ArtBlogBook ReviewsBooksFictionlifeMusicNaturePoetryWriting

Education Minefields When the Diaspora Returns

Champions endure the hardest hits–psychological and emotional–and carry themselves forward with the idealism needed to see through the most barren desert landscapes.  We’re charged with getting an education and then returning home to make things better.  We’re up for the challenge.  But we can’t be surprised when we get hit on both sides of the drum.…