I’m getting ready to teach a workshop in novel writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference. This will be the tenth consecutive year that I’ve taught at this conference, which I think is one of the best in the country. I could tell you why—an emphasis on craft and not publishing…

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We like to be surprised when we read a short story. When I was a young writer, I thought I needed to come up with plot twists that no one could see coming. One of my writing teachers once told me he always expected that an elephant would eventually appear somewhere in a Lee Martin…

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My grandmother, Stella Inyart Martin, was said to have “healing hands.” She knew the old folk remedies—the value of sassafras tea, horehound, ginseng, blackstrap molasses. When my grandfather’s first wife was dying of tuberculosis, my grandmother was the teenage girl who came to care for her. A few years after my grandfather’s first wife died,…

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Lately, as my wife recovers from knee replacement surgery, she’s been taking advantage of motorized carts in the grocery store. As I walk beside her, I notice the way people react. Some of them treat Cathy as if she’s invisible, going to great pains not to look at her. Others give her smiles that I’m…

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Three weeks ago tomorrow, my wife Cathy had knee replacement surgery. The surgery took place early in the morning, and that afternoon the physical therapists came to get her out of bed—to get her up and moving with the aid of a walker. A side note: Cathy has violent reactions to most opioids, but she…

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