I Remember That

We went to high school together. She was a year behind me even though she was a year older, and one evening at an end-of-the-year picnic for the sophomore and junior classes, she got flirty with me. We ended up, later that night, kissing in the shadows of a recessed spot outside the school building.…

Read More

What Kind of Writer Are You?

This afternoon, while driving through Ohio farm country, I remembered how I was in an agriculture class in high school for exactly one day. That’s all it took for me to know I was in the wrong place. I was there because my father was a farmer, and even though he supported me in my…

Read More

A New Year in the Pandemic

I’m writing this on the last Sunday of 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus that has taken over a million seven-hundred lives worldwide, the virus that has totally disrupted our normal come-and-go. We wear facial masks now—at least we should—and we keep our distance from one another, and we avoid gatherings, and…

Read More

Shaping a Piece of Writing: More Revision Tips

This week of Christmas, I’m thinking of the trees we used to cut in our woods on the farm, cedar trees that we’d carry to the house and put in a stand at the window in our front room. Those trees were unruly, left to grow the way nature would have it, so unlike the…

Read More

How Do You Do?: A Story Exercise

Of course, you’ve probably heard the joke about the man who was so old he refused to buy green bananas because he wasn’t sure he’d be around to see them ripen. Indeed there comes a time when we learn to shorten our vision into the future. Long-term dreams that sustained us when we were younger,…

Read More

Ten Quotes for Writers on Labor Day

On Labor Day, I like to give thanks for the fact that I’m able to spend a good portion of my time moving words about on the page. When I left college between my junior and senior year, I worked for a year and a half in the press room at a tire repairs manufacturing…

Read More

Keep Going: Three Tips for Maintaining Momentum

Last week, I went pretty much off the grid in my native southeastern Illinois. One of my joys was running or walking at Red Hills State Park, just outside the small town where I grew up. Aptly named, the park has a beautiful lake surrounded by rolling hills. Accustomed to running and walking the flatlands…

Read More

Unusual Jobs: What’s Your Character’s Line?

Lately, I’ve been watching episodes of the old television game show, “What’s My Line?” before turning in for the night. You’d have to be of a certain age to remember this show. It aired on CBS from 1950-1967. Hosted by John Charles Daly, the show featured celebrity panelists who, through a series of questions, tried…

Read More

On the New Year

Something about the current state of things in our country invites me to share this post from a few years ago, updated a tad to account for the passing of time. When I was a boy, it was my family’s New Year’s Eve tradition to gather for an oyster soup supper, followed by a rousing…

Read More

To Cherish the World: A Christmas Wish

I was back in my native southeastern Illinois last week, and I happened to have a little dust-up with a stranger at the local fitness center. Let’s say we should have agreed to disagree and left it at that, but we didn’t. She, a very nice elderly lady, broached a subject she shouldn’t have brought…

Read More