It’s Chowder Season Back Home

When I began this blog, I promised I’d tell you the least you need to know about writing, publishing, teaching, and other stuff. Well, today’s entry gives you some of that “other stuff,” a bit of the culture from my native southeastern Illinois, where right now it’s the heart of chowder season. Not chowder as…

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Shaping a Novel: A Report from My Latest Workshop

I’m back from teaching in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Workshop and I’ve been trying to get used to not having the stimulation of excellent readings by faculty and participants alike, thought-provoking craft talks, and the excitement of the daily workshop that I led. I had a group of six talented writers…

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Did You Hear the One About. . .?: Corny Jokes and Stories

Okay, I confess. I never met a horrible pun or a corny joke that I can resist. The dumber the better. Q: What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor? A:  “Hey, where’s my tractor.” See what I mean? There’s something about the naked admission that the joke is stupid that wins me…

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Nostalgia and the Writer

Last night, I started a Facebook group for folks who grew up in  my hometown, Sumner, Illinois. As some of you already know, I lived on a farm ten miles from Sumner until I started the third grade, at which time my mother took a teaching position in Oak Forest, Illinois, a southwestern suburb of…

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