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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Homecoming

This morning I woke up and, after taking the dog out to do his business before the rain started, made up my bed, smoothing the linen cover, plumping the pillows, setting the lavender sachet among the pillows just so. Then I went downstairs and made coffee, and while the water boiled I looked out the…

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A Subtle But Important Distinction

A man I respect immensely — kind, caring, smart, funny and filled with the sort of humility that’s truly inspiring — told me a story yesterday that I want to share with you. It’s not really his story any more than it’s mine, but it is the sort of story that holds such wonderful wisdom…

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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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Letting My Feet Follow My Pen

As though the murder of nine people in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church June 17, 2015 in Charleston wasn’t horrifying enough, since then a number of black churches in the south have burned down. While it’s possible not all of them were the result of domestic, racist-based terrorism, if even one was, that’s one…

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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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The Anglo-Saxon Forced March Northwards

With the publication of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, people have been asking me to pull together the blogs I wrote on my research trip to England, back in 2008.  And so, here you go… an account of what My Best Beloved calls, “The Anglo-Saxon Forced March Northwards”.  I must say, reading these again has brought…

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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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