Not surprisingly, I came to discover that there is no one by that name with a PO box in that small Blue Ridge mountain town whose name and zipcode appeared on the envelope. The namesake of the purported sender was never seen again, nor the cool million he left the plane with, though some reports say some of it was found in an eroded riverbank decades later. So the crisp, uncirculated 20s in the envelope might have been part of that loot, I thought, …

Urban Legend Anonymous Patron of the Arts Read more »

It has not been all that long ago that I noted the phrase for the first time. What did she just say? And once having heard it, it pops up constantly at every turn. And it is driving me crazy(er). It sounded so precious and pretentious even then. Now that I can’t go an hour without hearing it on the street or radio or reading it on the web, I’m ready to reach out and choke the next person who can’t say “contact, email, …

Reaching Out: The Sound of Fingernails on a Chalkboard Read more »

The Muse responds poorly to pressure. In fact, She cannot be conjured, cajoled or bribed. But it is possible to create the kind of accommodations that increase the likelihood that cerebral light bulbs will flash and pop, and an idea will take shape. Some people find they have the most receptive muse-moments while walking in a quiet place; some while catnapping or rocking on the porch or reading a totally unrelated book. Me, I’m a hydrovehicular creative (if I can claim to be at …

Coercing Creativity Read more »

We asked of the small group of self-selected “magazine project” students how many thought of themselves as a writer. Most denied the claim outright. One said that she used to love writing, but had come across something she had written “long ago” and “it was awful.” She had been very proud of it at the time it was written, but she was embarrassed by it today. So she had “given up” the notion of writing. How do we bring such writing agonies into perspective? …

The Writing Life: When Does it Begin? Read more »

Image by fred1st via Flickr When the computer era came into my world (we’re talking mid-eighties here) I wasn’t able to compose a sentence without a pen or pencil in my hand. My brain translated thought processes into words only by way of that very rigid, habitual, proprioceptive-cognitive linkage. I used an ancient “luggable” IBM computer for the first time in 1985 to produce my term paper (on Punctuated Equilibrium) for a class I was taking at Virginia Tech. I did the creating of …

What’s Write For You? Read more »