symbolism

The first look at my book’s cover

July 22, 2013 | 23 Comments

Ray Bradbury on Shakespeare

June 10, 2012 | 12 Comments

How long he stood he did not know, but there was a foolish and yet delicious sense of knowing himself as an animal come from the forest, drawn by the fire. He was a thing of brush and liquid eye, of fur and muzzle and hoof, he was a thing of horn and blood that would smell like autumn if you bled it out on the ground. He stood a long long time, listening to the warm crackle of the …

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An ancient lesson in structure

September 15, 2011 | 11 Comments

A version of this post first ran October 3, 2008 The King James Bible’s stories and ancient words and lovely turns of phrase have influenced legions of writers. I’m charmed by its liberal use of sobering colons: like so. And by the nonsensical italics. And then there’s Jesus: talk about someone who works on multiple levels. He’s always getting thronged and spied upon—What’s he gonna do now?—and he delights in flummoxing. He speaks in riddles to the dumbfounded masses, though …

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Gail Caldwell’s memoir & metaphors

August 6, 2011 | 9 Comments

The use of running metaphors in a piece—all related in some way to indigestion or water or loneliness or roller skates, or with a surrealistic or violent cast—will guide the reader in a particular direction as surely as stock can be herded.—Annie Proulx I’ve been skimming John Irving’s newest novel, Last Night in Twisted River. I started out reading, but it asked more of me than I can give right now. With classes looming, immersed in my own rewriting struggle, …

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Noted: Annie Proulx

December 27, 2008 | No Comments

from an interview in The Missouri Review, Vol. XXII, No. 2 “The research is ongoing and my great pleasure. Since geography and  climate are intensely interesting to me, much time goes into the close examination of specific regions—natural features of the landscape, human marks on it, earlier and prevailing economics based on raw materials, ethnic background of settlers. I read manuals of work and repair, books of manners, dictionaries of slang, city directories, lists of occupational titles, geology, regional weather, …

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Noted: Tony Earley

December 21, 2008 | One Comment

from an interview with Tony Earley conducted by Hattie Fletcher for Nidus “I can’t write any piece, fiction or nonfiction, until I come up with a metaphor. I hate the idea of writing on only one level. Often just walking around through the world, I’ll see something and think, damn, that is a great metaphor—for what? And so I have a metaphor, but I have no thing to hook it to. And so, a piece usually results when I find …

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Melville’s thematic fluidity

November 30, 2008 | One Comment

This is a guest post by Tom Gilbert, my son, a college sophomore majoring in philosophy and film. “To write a mighty book you must choose a mighty theme.” –Herman Melville, Moby-Dick “Everyone knows I’m not a folk singer,” says Jude Quinn/Cate Blanchett/Bob Dylan at the end of I’m Not There, and I might have taken that a little easier if it was said to a superimposed LBJ or questioning reporter. But as it stood, right into the camera, with …

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