Five Minutes to Midnight

A writing prompt for my class: Think back to the five minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve or else-when on that night—-or 5 minutes some other eve to paint a scene, an extended moment. What I spun off:

This New Year’s Eve I woke up 5 minutes after midnight.

The sound of horns and fireworks outside pulled me out of my doze in front of the TV. And what came into focus was the scene at Times Square in New York, only there was no campy, nubby, multi-colored ball already dropped nor a scattering of paper confetti in the air. It was all hot, hot pink and flash and strobe–and, in my dazed state, it looked like a dystopian Bladerunner-stylized scene of edgy dark excess.

And I realized: The Future is Here.


Announcing 3QR 2

The Second Annual Issue of 3QR: The Three Quarter Review is LIVE!

Check it out at Three Quarter Review.

No Censorship. No Betrayal. Just great Poetry & Prose > 75  percent True.

This issue features nationally acclaimed poet Mary Jo Salter and a cadre of fantastic writers.


Points of View

“From here that looks like a bucket of water,” he said, pointing to a bucket of water, “but from an ant’s point of view it’s a vast ocean, from an elephant’s just a cool drink, and to a fish, of course, it’s home. So, you see, the way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from.”

Alec Bings, the boy who grew down from the air, in The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.

Taming the Literary Animal

Poet Matthea Harvey, keynote speaker at the Conversations & Connections Conference, Washington, D. C., April 13, 2013:

Writing is not a career. It’s a way of being in the world that can be both painful and beautiful.

Writing is like a wild animal. You will never tame it. Some days it eats out of your hand, other days there’s not even a glimpse of a tail in the shrubbery.

IFN Hiroshima Discussion

Welcome to our IFN comment string on the classic nonfiction book, Hiroshima, by John Hersey.


In writing Hiroshima, John Hersey portrays six survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima–following their unique, yet irrevocably linked stories. Via intense interviews and research, Hersey created a serialized narrative of the events, including residents’ actions in the calm before the Noiseless Flash.

Here are some questions to spark our discussion. Choose one or two and leave a comment:

1) Describe a literary technique Hersey uses to create a voice for the characters (give an example); 2) How do  their stories illuminate the event’s backstory, panoramic picture, investigation, or aftermath (again, cite a particular example).

Or, 3) What did you find most effective about this book and what purpose does it serve as a work of narrative nonfiction?

After the first few commentators, later contributors can refer to an insight previously made as well. Please add your name at the end, so that we know who is speaking, as not everyone recognizes e-mail addresses. Everyone in class should add at least one comment (appropriate comments, of course). Set aside part of our normal class time to comment or follow, though any final responses would be due by 5 p.m. Wednesday.


The Whole Quote and Nothing . . .

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed, so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again because it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling ‘Kilroy was here’ on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.

— William Faulkner

Age 40, the new 14: Anorexia Comes of Age

Last fall I noticed a lot of post-35 women around me were getting skinnier and skinnier. Running marathons or 13.1 races. Sticking to raw food regimens. Obsessing over new fad diets.

And in the celeb world, just glance at images of the fragile Demi Moore, et al. Seems to be something going on . . .

Indeed there is: a wave of eating disorder cases in women, and some men, in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

You can read my story  “A Disorder Comes of Age” in the current issue of Style magazine.