The Put-Upon: From the Heart in the Heartland

Oh, Lordy, here I go again, a splinter under my skin that I just have to worry up to light and air. This time, it’s the term, “trailer trash,” that’s got me worked up. A name for those folks in economic dire straits with fewer and fewer chances to rise above their circumstances. A category…

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Get to Work: The Value of Jobs in Narratives

Yesterday in my fiction workshop, I was talking about the value of having something for the main characters of a story to do. I’ve always thought that jobs were useful in this regard. A character in a story can engage in all sorts of interesting activities on the basis of his or her job alone.…

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E-Readers and Public Library Books: A Tribe of Readers

An article in this morning’s Columbus Dispatch regarding e-readers and the downloading of library books has me thinking about how we’ve been quick to exchange an aesthetic experience for convenience. I already have nostalgia for the now defunct card catalog in libraries. How close are we to only having virtual libraries and no printed materials…

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Write a True Thing: Let the Zing Knock You Slobberjawed

Did you hear about the toddler who was served alcohol at an Applebees restaurant in Michigan? Apparently, some left-over mixed cocktails ended up in the apple juice. Now there’s a zing for your tyke to put a little extra giddyup in his roll! How interesting that when I first typed the last sentence above, I…

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