• blog,  Pop Culture

    Talking Schitt About Small Towns – Schitts Creek

    Yesterday I caught the tail end of a show on NPR about Schitt Creek, a show on Amazon about a couple who lose everything and have to move to a town they bought as a joke called Schitt Creek to rebuild their lives. That gives you an idea of how much their lives have changed if they are moving to a town they bought on a whim, as a gag, to rebuild.  It’s a riches to rags story. I haven’t seen the show although it sounds good and I want to watch it, but listening to the conversation about it on NPR made me really think about some assumptions in…

  • blog,  Book Reviews,  On Writing

    Book Review: The Art of Fiction by James Salter

    James Salter is one of my favorite writers. His book “A Sport and a Pastime” was one of the most beautiful, evocative and memorable books I’ve read in my life. The simplicity of his language betrays the emotional complexity of his stories and characters. This book was taken from lectures he gave to writing students and so the tone is as if he is speaking to us, personally, about his love of writing. He writes about his successes in writing and his failures, notably the poor reaction and bad reviews of his memoir Burning the Days. The book is short but packed with great details about his own writing as…

  • blog,  Book Reviews,  On Writing

    How Pat Conroy Uses Dialogue to Reveal Character in Prince of Tides

    Before I started writing stories and essays, I wrote plays. This was more of a happy accident than anything planned. I loved theatre and loved being in plays, but my performances were hit or miss. Some days, I was full of energy and confidence and would belt out songs in musicals as if I were destined to be Annie on Broadway. I played Charlie Brown in a musical at summer camp and had a lead in the musical “Bells Are Ringing” in middle school. After school, I went to the Pittsburgh Playhouse and studied drama and theatre hoping to ride my success as Chuck into a high school theatre career,…

  • blog,  Mindset

    Stress is a Choice

    I went to college on the other side of the country from where I lived. It was a nine hour trip, with two layovers, not including travel to and from the airport. I went alone, sight unseen other than the catalog. I had an independent spirit then, just as I do now. I don’t remember the trip being hard, I remember it being exciting. But I do remember being worried that the cab driver who brought me from the airport to campus would take me to the wrong college and I wouldn’t realize because I’d never visited. Everything turned out fine. I got dropped off at the correct college, found…

  • Orchestra

    My Experience with Erotic Hypnosis

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  • blog,  Pop Culture

    Meeting Walter Kirn

    The first time I met Walter Kirn was in the late 90s. When I met him again last year, I didn't expect that it would result in an adventure with Harper's Magazine!

  • blog,  News

    Shouting Out Great Content!

    Good morning! It’s the last day of my vacation. I’ve had a fabulous time with family in Boston and then New Hampshire for two weeks. We’ve had great food, gone on hikes, been zip lining, toured caves, cooked together, laughed together, road tripped together and the younger generation all took a week of science camp together. This is very special to me because I live so far from family so it’s like moving planets to get everyone together.In addition to all the fun activities, I’ve also had some down time to read and listen to some podcasts and I want to introduce you to a few gems I’ve discovered. I…