I’ll be brief today. Just a few thoughts about prose rhythm and what a writer can gain by paying attention at the level of the sentence. Ellen Gilchrist’s short story, “A Love Story,” is exactly what it says it is, the story of a man and woman coming together in old age. Here are the…

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We’re sitting in a smorgasbord restaurant somewhere north of Cissna Park, Illinois, on Easter Sunday, my parents and I, because we live in Oak Forest, a southern suburb of Chicago, during the school year now. My mother lost her teaching position downstate because the school board thought she was too lax with her discipline of…

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I’m reading Carrie Brown’s wonderful novel, The Last First Day, which I somehow missed when it came out in 2013. It’s the story of an aging couple and their sweep of time. The book opens on the first day of the new autumn term of New England’s Derry School for boys, where the husband, Peter,…

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I write both fiction and nonfiction, and with the latter I have an admitted preference for narrative. No matter the genre, then, I see myself as a storyteller. I like to tell stories, and sometimes I like to tell them about invented characters, and sometimes I like to tell them about real people. When I…

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