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

A Writer’s Notebook: first lines for essays

My creative nonfiction class is working on an exercise this weekend. I’ve got them doing the map-making exercise from Bill Roorbach’s Writing Life Stories, but I’ve done that one here on the blog before. It’s worth doing again (and again, and again), but I promised them I’d share my writing from the exercise we didContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: first lines for essays”

Life Among Amazon’s “Best Books”

Bill Roorbach’s Life Among Giants,which officially releases on November 13, has been named to Amazon’s “Best Book of the Month” list. Congrats to Bill! If that’s not enough to convince to you to buy the book right this minute, check out my review of the book. And if that still doesn’t do the trick, tune inContinue reading “Life Among Amazon’s “Best Books””

“Life Among Giants,” by Bill Roorbach

(As with so many of my reviews, this is available on Goodreads as well, but I wanted to share it here, too, because it’s a book worth sharing.) Bill Roorbach is an artist of the human heart, but as a writer, he is pure craftsman. You can see the workmanship in his prose the wayContinue reading ““Life Among Giants,” by Bill Roorbach”

More notes on my NaNoWriMo table of contents

On Monday, I was explaining the concept of NaNoWriMo to my students, and they asked what I was writing. So I told them about my book idea and the “table of contents” I’d come up with, and one student asked me, “How do you write from a title?” But before I could answer, another studentContinue reading “More notes on my NaNoWriMo table of contents”

A Writer’s Notebook: Bill Roorbach’s bad advice

Yes, I missed last week’s Notebook. Skipped, more like, but my wife was newly arrived from two months overseas, so I forgive myself and I trust you will too. Besides, this week (as I’d intended to do last week), I’m using an exercise from Bill Roorbach’s newly-minted “Bad Advice” series over at the blog heContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Bill Roorbach’s bad advice”

A Writer’s Notebook: Mapping a story

This past Tuesday, I visited Zayed University to speak to an education class studying youth literature and preparing to write young adult stories of their own. (I’ll write a fuller post on this experience later this weekend.) We talked about books they were reading and how they might begin to write their own stories. TheContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Mapping a story”

New fiction from Bill Roorbach

Bill Roorbach has announced on his blog, Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, that his new novel, The High Side, is scheduled to appear in print next spring. I can’t tell you how excited I am by this: I’ve long been a big fan of Bill — his writing but also his nature, because he’s oneContinue reading “New fiction from Bill Roorbach”

Reading and writing: a beginning, and no end in sight!

Just wanted to quickly share two blog posts, which by happy accident I happened to read almost back to back today. The first is from Odds ‘N Ends (aka Mary’s Little Blog), in which a mother recounts helping her son learn to read and write. More importantly, the post focuses on the first time herContinue reading “Reading and writing: a beginning, and no end in sight!”

A Writer’s Notebook: The great outdoors

This is a fairly old-school, simple exercise, but it’s one I keep returning to again and again.  But as usual, more on that below. I’ve never seen the skies in other vast states, like, say, Wyoming or Montana, but I’ve seen skies in California, skies in New York, skies in Wisconsin and Florida. And itContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: The great outdoors”