My Own NaNoWriMo

My Own NaNoWriMo

I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo. (Insert long list of reasons why, starting with my early indignant exclamations that drafting 50K words is not writing a novel, and ending with my later understanding that most people who do NaNo seriously understand that fact, but I still have always kept my own writing schedule…) But this year, I sorta, kinda did my own NaNo. I went on a writing retreat last week and drafted 66,000 words of a...

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More Thoughts on Conflict

More Thoughts on Conflict

Last week, I wrote about the challenges I face, being a conflict-averse person, writing novels that turn directly on emotional conflicts between characters. That post seemed to spark a lot of interest, mostly from other conflict-averse writers. Their comments have led me to think more about how conflict works among family and friends–people who are supposed to love and support each other. Years ago, after completing law school and taking...

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Art and Literature (Philly Edition)

Art and Literature (Philly Edition)

Sometimes, all sorts of creative strands come together — and the result can be wholly unexpected. Wholly enjoyable, too, with a healthy dose of learning and making new connections. Recently, we’ve been watching Ken Burns’s remastered The Civil War. I’ve seen the entire series once, and I’ve watched several segments multiple times (usually, after we’ve visited one of the battlefields.) The remastered images...

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National Books, Books, Books Festival

National Books, Books, Books Festival

Saturday marked the 15th National Book Festival.  I remember going to the first one, which was held on the National Mall, in massive tents, with chairs that tilted more than a little on the grassy lawn. The Festival was a brain-child of Laura Bush, and it brought thousands of readers to a common space, where they received brightly colored cloth bags, listened to dozens of authors, and had a chance to buy books by those speakers. I wasn’t...

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Grumble. Grouse. Complain. (Restaurant Edition)

So here’s a situation…  What would you do? You and a companion spend a long morning traipsing around a national battlefield in near-100-degree heat. Around 1:45, you realize you’re ravenous. At 2:00 p.m., you enter the Tavern, the only restaurant visible on Main Street of the town nearest the battlefield. A sign says, “Seat Yourself,” which you do. About five minutes later, a waitress comes over, brings menus, and...

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