Beyond the Pain: A Writing Exercise

I’ve been teaching in the low-residency MFA program at Miami University here in Ohio the past few days, and one day I led a writing activity for people in our prose workshop. Both fiction and nonfiction writers went through the following steps to great success. They found genuine, strong voices while also developing a deeper…

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Mad Libs for Creative Nonfiction Writers

Cathy and I, the past few years, have been opening our home on Thanksgiving Day, providing a welcome table to anyone who might need a place to go. Of course, we’re disappointed that the pandemic has made that impossible this year, but our gathering’s loss is a small price to pay for the sake of…

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Struggle and Empathy

We’ve reached the final week of January, which always feels significant to me. A native Midwesterner, I’ve always thought of winter as an endurance test, and each signpost along the way—the end of January, Valentine’s Day, the NCAA basketball tournament, etc.—a mark that brings us closer to spring. Here in the Midwest, we earn our…

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