“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”

11-11: Southern fiction (Christopher Cook)

I began my love affair with Southern fiction, as most of us do, with Faulkner, but I didn’t get serious about studying the genre until I started reading Tom Franklin. His then-distinctive blend of gritty blue-collar stories set in a modern but familiar American South, a style of writing Franklin likes to call “Industrial Gothic,” … More 11-11: Southern fiction (Christopher Cook)

A Writer’s Notebook: The Writer’s Toolbox, sentence sticks

So, last week I let Jamie Cat Callan‘s The Writer’s Toolbox help me start a story. It was about John, an architect from Minnesota who is feeling guilty over abandoning his elderly mother in order to stalk the woman he’s secretly in love with. Don’t ask me — the Toolbox came up with this story. But that’s where … More A Writer’s Notebook: The Writer’s Toolbox, sentence sticks

The Netherlands: Days 10.1 & 10.2 (the Great Volcano Standstill, 2010)

Day 10.1 Friday, April 16, 2010 Stranded still.  The volcano continues to spew, the European authorities in charge of their respective airspaces continue to freak out, many of our fellow passengers are growing irrationally angry, and it’s looking more and more like we’re in this for a longer haul than anyone would like. We woke … More The Netherlands: Days 10.1 & 10.2 (the Great Volcano Standstill, 2010)