R&B and soul singer William “Smokey” Robinson, who recently visited the White House, was later interviewed on National Public Radio about his writing process. He said “there are no new words. No new chords. Maybe even no new ideas. I just want to say ‘I love you’ in a way it’s never been said before.”
Then NPR played one of his most famous song lyrics . .
“Take a good look at my face.
You see my smile seems out of place.
Look closely, it’s easy to trace
the tracks of my tears.”
My kids were on spring break last week so there wasn’t much time to write, but lots of time to pay attention. It must have gone pretty well because one day my son, while riding in the car, said, “Today is a gleaming, sunny diamond day!”
Overheard at Conversations & Connections Conference in Washington, D.C. April 16:
“We all feel like failures. All this week I woke up at 5 a.m. in a pool of my own anxiety. Most of writing lies in outlasting your own self doubt.”
— Keynote speaker Steve Almond, author of the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, among other publications.
Writing teachers often emphasize showing over telling. And I point out, as a general rule, that most compelling stories employ about 80 percent showing and 20 percent telling (or similar formulas: 90/10 or 75/25). My students at Hopkins, after all, are mostly scientists so can easily get their heads around Newtonian numbers.
To demonstrate, I wrote the following quote on the board for the showing/telling formula.
“I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vics, and his hair was perfect.”–Warren Zevon, lyrics from Werewolf in London
We all know Muammar Gaddafi is a very bad man.
Back in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan called him both dangerous and flaky.
My question is: Why is he still ‘Colonel’ Muammar Gaddafi.
After 42 years of totalitarian rule, wouldn’t you think he would at least promote himself to General?
Check out this really cool list of flash fiction journals. Here’s literature for everyone on the deadline of daily life:
A tribute to Sei Shonagon:
It’s hateful to watch a mother talking loudly on her cell phone while her three-year-old boy plays video games on her iPad. It’s not the games, per se. And I don’t begrudge personal mommy breaks (even though her chatter is rather annoying, marring my much needed personal mommy break). It’s the maniacal laughter that pours forth from the tablet every time the kid wins. Or loses.