Judy Blume

Last night I drove with my wife and another university librarian (our education librarian, who oversees our children and young-adult literature collection on campus) to Madison to attend a lecture by Judy Blume. Blume’s speech was part of the larger Wisconsin Literary Festival underway this week, but her specific appearance was at the invitation ofContinue reading “Judy Blume”

Dissertation vs. Novel

Today (yes, it took that long–it’s been nearly a year), the bound copies of my dissertation arrived in the mail. It’s an odd thing to see, this document long finished here anew in my hands, in a solid form suggesting something like legitimacy. In some ways, I dread looking through it–over the past year, whileContinue reading “Dissertation vs. Novel”

Lost won; Fringe is frayed: a study of character vs. plot

Okay, lame title for a comparison of JJ Abrams series. For the past several weeks I’ve been embroiled in an on-and-off argument with a friend of mine. It relates to how we define quality writing and how we use the terms “literary” and “genre,” among other things. (I use “literary” in a positive way andContinue reading “Lost won; Fringe is frayed: a study of character vs. plot”

An assignment for me

My students are busily typing away at an assignment I’ve given them. Which surprises me. Ordinarily, when I bring my classes to a computer lab, I have to all but beat students away from IM, Facebook, YouTube, or any of the other distractions I, too, would ordinarily have open in side windows. But either they’reContinue reading “An assignment for me”

“The Bullet Surprise,” courtesy of “beta amphetamine”

My friend Beth Ann Fennelly has a new book of of poetry out, Unmentionables, which I’ve been salivating for since I finished her nonfiction book Great with Child a year ago. I haven’t ordered it yet, but I’ve been thinking about the book, so to whet my yearning I’ve picked up an old favorite, herContinue reading ““The Bullet Surprise,” courtesy of “beta amphetamine””

Good-bye, New York

Good-bye, Manhattan. Good-bye, Hilton New York. Good-bye Best Western President. Good-bye, Chrysler Building. Say hi to the others — I’ll catch them next time. Good-bye, Broadway. Good-bye 5th Avenue. Good-bye 59th Street. Good-bye corner of Grove and Benton — what great Friends you made. So long, Times Square. You’re a little flashy, but I likeContinue reading “Good-bye, New York”

Three things: notes from yesterday

To try and catch up from yesterday, I’m sitting on the floor against an out-of-the-way pillar in the conference hotel, writing this over a tiny, cold, and weirdly tasteless portabella mushroom sandwich that cost $7.50. Anywhere else, this sandwich would have come from a vending machine and cost $1.25, but this is New York. WhenContinue reading “Three things: notes from yesterday”

On friends, lions, and Friends again

This morning, I woke early and walked the dozen blocks to the conference hotel so I could hit the first session of panel presentations on the schedule. The panel I attended was a discussion about creative writers and their careers as teachers. Strangely, every member of the panel managed to utter at least one witheringContinue reading “On friends, lions, and Friends again”

Typing vs. Writing?

In my composition classes, we’ve had several conversations about the difference between typing our drafts and handwriting them. As romantic as I tend to be about writing — and as much as I love my little journals and notebooks — I have become a convert to the keyboard to such a degree that I almostContinue reading “Typing vs. Writing?”