Most writers are desperate for validation. We want someone to tell us we’re good. We want to know we’re good because people publish our work, talk about our work, give us awards for our work. We can spend a good deal of energy worrying about such things. The truth is so much of publishing and…

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It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’ve agreed to speak to a local writers’ group that meets in a banquet room at an MCL Cafeteria. I’m doing this instead of working on the draft of an essay that I’m eager to finish, instead of prepping for the two workshops I’ll teach this week, instead of writing the…

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Accept the fact that you’ll never remember exactly what someone said. Trust me. You may think you will, but you won’t. The thing said is lost to time; all that remains is the shape you give it as you do your best to call it back. 2. Other people will remember the thing said slightly…

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  Lined up on the window ledge in my office are your pictures. Since 2001, when I came to teach at The Ohio State University, I’ve tried to get a photo of each of you, my thesis advisees, and me at Epilog, the end-of-the-year gala reading for the graduating MFAs. I may have missed one…

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Before I found my way in life and ended up slap-ass lucky with what my father would have called a “pencil-pusher’s job,” I did manual labor. In addition to the farm work that I helped him do, I worked on a Christmas tree farm, and in a shoe factory, a garment factory, and a tire…

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