Now What?

When I was young, the thing I hated more than just about anything was going to bed and turning out my light at 9:00 pm. Despite the fact that I would just lie there in the dark driving myself crazy—unable to sleep, unable to shut off my brain—lights out at 9:00 was the rule in…

Nothing To It

There’s nothing to it. You just start writing. Type out or scribble down a few words, a phrase, an image. Set a timer. Write for an hour. See how many words you can get written in that time. Look them over. Throw them away. Forget all of it. Start again. Train your brain to work…

Is It My Face?

I’ve been on a mini-vacation from work for the past five days, and for me that’s meant staying in and getting other work done—housework, writing, social media, etc. But I got a call at around 7:30 on Friday night from a friend who was at the Waffle House with her girlfriend eating dinner. She asked…

The Really Good Stuff

Catch everything out of the air into the net of your mind. Place every word in the correct order, arrange the dots and stripes of your perfect sentiment. Write all the beautiful phrases. Polish them, gaze at them in wonder. Congratulate yourself on your amazing powers of creation. Know there is nothing wasted. Marvel at…

The Book You Want to Read

“Write the book you want to read.” Is that good advice? I’m not sure. When I think about it, I know it makes sense, but as soon as I concede that, I suddenly lose my idea of what I want to read. It just flies out of my head, like all the books I knew…

Music for Smalls Lighthouse: Ear Treasure

A terrible thing—maybe the worst thing ever—happened to my creative life last week, but I didn’t start feeling the repercussions of it until Sunday morning. As far as writing routines go I have nothing ironclad that I would share on social media with any amount of smugness. It’s nearly always a crapshoot when I sit…

Full disclosure?

I’ve noticed that (usually) when people lean toward you and say in a low voice, “Full disclosure…” they never tell you anything interesting, or anything that you didn’t already either know or at least guess about them. I used the parenthetical offset with the word “usually” because every once in a while someone’s full disclosure…

Franzen’s Rules

I didn’t think I could like him less as a writer, but he certainly helped me out with that.

Orange Claw Hammer

Look at that album cover! Now imagine what the music must sound like! Do you seriously think it’s possible for me to have anything left inside me to blog about?

Tired or Lazy? One of These For Sure.

I realized almost 24 hours after I posted to my blog last night that I called my imaginary TV show the wrong thing. I’m sorry.

Liebke, meine Liebling!

Picture it: West Virginia. In your memory it is always bleak, always winter. Picture a town 15 miles from the nearest interstate exit, a town so insular and clannish that if you were not born inside a house (or on the marble floor of a bank lobby or on a pile of hay in a…

From Russia, with Love

Imagine being a child of the 80s – someone who grew up during a time when we all thought the cold war wouldn’t end until the Soviets pushed the button and blew up the world – imagine having that in your memory bank and then seeing that you’re being “followed” by Russia Observer.

Bartleby, Book Lights, Bed Side Tables

Look: I’m almost 50 years old. I don’t have a lot of time left. None of us really does have a lot of time, period, whether we’re 90 or newly born. I am not reading Moby Dick. Drop it.

Long Live the Streak!

…[E]verything I thought to write about seemed like something I should be putting into my current WORK IN PROGRESS (as opposed to ON THIS BLOG).