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Opposing a Rush To Judgment

There is a situation playing out in Canada right now that has me both sad and alarmed.  I won’t go into details, since at present we have almost none of those, and they will come out soon enough. I didn’t want to put my face in this fan, honestly, but as a writer with a…

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Refugee Blues

Time, I have come to believe, is not linear, but cyclical, a spiral not a line. Indigenous people and the Old Testament tell us everything has its season, and after winter comes the spring, the summer, the autumn, and then the winter again, although of course it’s never exactly the same winter. Each day both…

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Why A Writing Workshop? Thoughts on Sharpening the Quill

September’s right around the corner, which means it’s time for Sharpening the Quill, the writing workshop I lead, to start up again. People sometimes ask me what I think writers will gain from the workshop experience.  Let me try to answer that question. Discipline. Showing up regularly for a writing workshop keeps the writer focused…

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My Bookish Ways

What fun it was being interviewed for the wonderful book site: My Bookish Ways! Here’s the first question: Congrats on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about Against a Darkening Sky and what inspired you to write it? Thanks so much. Against a Darkening Sky is set in the 7th century –…

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Serving the World

“We cannot, of course, save the world, because we do not have authority over its parts. We can serve the world though. This is everyone’s calling; to lead a life that helps.” – Barry Lopez I came across this quote from writer Barry Lopez yesterday and it feels especially appropriate given how sharp and jagged…

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A Fool for Blessing

“God has two dwellings… one in Heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart!”  — IZAAK WALTON . I found myself dragging my butt around the house the other day, going from desk to kitchen to couch to bed to desk to kitchen to… you get the idea. Tea cup in hand. Still…

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The Artist And The Tree

Sometimes other writers talk to me about the futility of the artist’s life, particularly at a time when the digital world seems to be steamrollering over publishing, when it’s harder and harder to make even the most meager living, when it’s so difficult to attract the attention of readers, who have the attention span of…

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"Just Mercy" (or perhaps,"Stonecatcher")

Every once in a while I read a book I consider so important, I have to write about it — and this is one of those books. As some of you know, I’ve spent some time teaching in prison, so I hope you’ll beleive me when I say the importance of this book can’t be…

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Repairing Cracks in the Ramparts

Recently I’ve been feeling discomfort — a combination of pre-publishing jitters and critical voices that have wormed their way into my head and affected my work.  Every time I start something new I hear some voice explaining, in the most condescending, superior tones, why I’m wrong, why what I think is good literature is in…

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A Year In Books — the final bit

Life got hectic.  It does that, doesn’t it?  And so this post, which I meant to make weeks ago, has finally lumbered into the light. I’ve already posted the first 50 books I read last year, which you can read about here and here. Below is the final 21… 51.  HOUSEKEEPING by Marilynne Robinson.  This…

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