When I was a boy, my mother often said to me, “Don’t make a scene.” So I grew up to be a writer in part, perhaps, so I could make all the scenes I wanted. When we write narratives, whether fictional or the personal narratives of memoirs and essays, we need to give ourselves permission…

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I just got back from teaching in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Workshop, and I wanted to give a recap of the craft class that I taught. The session was called “Taking Care at the End: The Art of Misdirection.” So please permit me a digression. The photo below was taken by…

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Why is it, once you reach a certain age, that Sundays are loaded with nostalgia? Today, I’m  thinking of summer Sundays when I lived on our farm in southeastern Illinois. I’m talking about an eighty-acre plot of land on the Lawrence County side of the County Line Road. Eighty acres of clay soil in Lukin…

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Remember those high school days when you were always worrying over your popularity even if you acted like you weren’t, when you were trying to define a workable identity for yourself: a jock, a cheerleader, a stoner, a loner, a straight arrow, a good citizen, a lover, a fighter, and the list goes on. Remember…

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