My Mother Was My Teacher

My mother died on a brutally cold day in January in 1988. She was a grade school teacher for forty-one years, starting at a small country school when she was eighteen and retiring at the age of fifty-nine, the age I am now. Nights, when I was a small boy on our farm, I sat…

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Looking for a Workshop in Novel Writing?

I’ve been asked to offer some further thoughts on designing and leading a creative writing workshop, and to respond I thought I’d talk a bit about how I do the novel workshop that I’ve been teaching in the summer at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference. This will give me a chance…

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My Promises to My Workshop

This week’s request to talk a bit about leading a writing workshop is timely because the Spring Semester begins at Ohio State today, and this evening, I’ll be meeting with my MFA fiction workshop for the first time. Here are some things I promise to do as I lead this workshop. I offer them here…

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Old Photographs and the Memoir

I remember on New Year’s Eve, when I was a boy, my father’s side of the family would gather for a supper of oyster soup and games of cards—usually either Pitch or Rook. This was in a day when we didn’t have cell phones that took pictures, when we didn’t live in a society that…

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