Patrons of writing and teaching: My grandfather, Ted Snoek

Ordinarily, I reserve the “patrons” entries for divine and/or fictional influences on my writing and teaching. But today I want to write about a real, living person, because today is my grandfather’s 90th birthday. My grandfather, Ted Snoek, has had a profound influence on my professional life. His father died fairly young, when my grandfather … More Patrons of writing and teaching: My grandfather, Ted Snoek

A Writer’s Notebook: Capt. Snoek, the elder: Adventures at sea with Ted Snoek’s father (Pt. 2)

Today, we’re we should have been on our way home from the Netherlands (see the note at the bottom), so I’ll conclude the story of my great-grandfather and return to other writing exercises next week.  As with last week’s entry, I’m still working from the basic interview-storytelling exercise I mentioned in the first “Capt. Snoek” … More A Writer’s Notebook: Capt. Snoek, the elder: Adventures at sea with Ted Snoek’s father (Pt. 2)

A Writer’s Notebook: Capt. Snoek, the elder: Adventures at sea with Ted Snoek’s father (Pt. 1)

Because we’re in the Netherlands, land of my ancestors, I thought I’d continue the story of my great-grandfather William Karel Snoek, Sr., who left his home in Hoorn, Holland at the age of 12 and took to a life at sea.  There is no new exercise this week, though–I’m still working from the basic interview-storytelling … More A Writer’s Notebook: Capt. Snoek, the elder: Adventures at sea with Ted Snoek’s father (Pt. 1)

A Writer’s Notebook: The salty but true story of the origins of one Capt. Ted Snoek

I thought I’d try my hand at some non-fiction this week, though I confess this is not my forte.  For the reason I’ve engaged this genre–and, as always, for the exercise itself–see below. I come from a line of seamen. My father, and my father’s father, and my father’s father’s father-in-law, all were captains of … More A Writer’s Notebook: The salty but true story of the origins of one Capt. Ted Snoek

The long-awaited debut from memoirist Jenny Forrester

Next week, my dear friend Jenny Forrester will release her first book, the already-lauded memoir Narrow River, Wide Sky, from Portland’s acclaimed Hawthorne Books. On the Colorado Plateau between slot canyons and rattlesnakes, Jenny Forrester grew up with her mother and brother in a single-wide trailer proudly displaying an American flag. Forrester’s powerfully eloquent story … More The long-awaited debut from memoirist Jenny Forrester

“It’s a real privilege to have talented friends”

Back in spring of 2015, I was looking for fresh material to bring into my composition classroom, and I happened to have a batch of students who were itching to break out of the essay rut and write in response to some literature. So I shared some widely-anthologized essays and some interesting editorials from major newspapers, but … More “It’s a real privilege to have talented friends”

Helping friends affected by the fires and building collapses in NY

Gang, we’re all family here, yeah? Maybe you’re a friend of mine, or maybe you’re a fan of my work, or maybe you just stopped by out of curiosity. But if you’re here, chances are good that you like writing or writers or reading or listening to art. And that makes us family. And our … More Helping friends affected by the fires and building collapses in NY

When I was a kid, I wanted to be on radio

What I was in third grade, my parents bought me on of those radio microphones, the ones where you could tune into a low-frequency dial on the radio and broadcast yourself over the airwaves. I used it to rap alongside  Ray Parker, Jr’s theme song to Ghostbusters. Go ahead. You know you want to. I already … More When I was a kid, I wanted to be on radio

I’ve been nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award!

Folks, this is just too amazing not to share: The editors at Bartleby Snopes have nominated my story “Lightning My Pilot” for the 2013 storySouth Million Writers Award! It’s a hell of an honor, and I’m inexpressibly proud to be listed alongside Joseph Lambach’s “Cutting Hair for My Sister” and Brian Kayser’s “Underwear and Leftovers.” Thanks, SO MUCH, … More I’ve been nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award!