I’ve always thought that writing memoir, in some ways, is easier than writing fiction because the plot is already in place. We know the major players. We know what they did or didn’t do. We know the narrative arc of a certain slice of experience. We don’t have to make anything up. But, of course,…

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I’m watching a swan as it glides across the lake. The sun is out. The temperature is moderate. For February, in the Midwest, it’s not a bad day at all. I’m thinking about how our writing lives can sometimes be like this—effortless, beautiful—and how most of the time they aren’t. For the most part, I…

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I drove across Indiana today in heavy snow. Visibility was poor on I-70 between Indianapolis and Terre Haute. Traffic was slow. I saw cars off the road and a multiple vehicle accident. I kept going. I found the track and I stayed in it. Hmmm. . .sort of like writing a novel. The first novel…

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My cousin invited me to look through some old family photos she’d inherited from her grandmother, who was my aunt. It was a wonderful evening, but the true gift of it appeared at the end of the many photos we saw. I found myself picking up a portrait, roughly 8” x 10”, of a family,…

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And so it came to be that I wrote a novel, and my very nice agent found a very nice editor who liked the book. He made some very smart editorial suggestions, and I took nearly every one of them as I prepared the final manuscript. Then a very nice copy editor had fun marking…

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