(Autumn Semester classes have begun here at The Ohio State University, and my MFA workshop in creative nonfiction is off to a fast start. We talked last week about writing vertically down into the material to find the story of the writer’s thinking. Using Naomi Shihab Nye’s brief essay, “Mint Snowball,” as our model, we…

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I just got back from teaching a workshop in the novel at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference in Montpelier. I had six first-time novelists in the workshop, and I’d seen about twenty-five pages of each manuscript before we all arrived in Montpelier. Some people had complete drafts of their novels, and…

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In all honesty, I had no idea what I would write about today. Then I went out to mow the yard, and I noticed a Tonka Truck dump truck in the yard across the street, and later, I saw the shell of a cicada clinging to the purple bloom of a Blazing Star, and through…

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A porch swing sways, and the chains in the eyehooks screwed into the rafters let out their lazy creaks as if this is a day of rest for them, too. Or nearly so. They still have to support the weight of the neighbor who pushes ever so lightly with her foot and feels the breeze…

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