Meet-&-Greets, University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction & Fiction

University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction (& in Fiction) As many of you know, I’m one of the mentors in the Univ of King’s College’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction. It’s a great program, all of the students working on books ranging from memoirs to investigative journalism. (The average age in the Creative Nonfiction […]

Memory into Memoir

Beginnings are always difficult, vexing, frustrating. Where to begin? Anyone starting a memoir will see roiling before their eyes a thicket of people, a tangle of events, many befogged, some befuddled. How to reconstruct the past? Do you, as a writer, address it as a series of events, like falling dominos, one event leading inexorably […]

Ocean Vuong on Curiosity

“When I’m lost in the work, I’m curious. I don’t know if curiosity is a balm, because it often gets me in trouble, but it gives me control. It becomes fuel, and it brings me out of myself and into the world, even if I’ve just been sitting at my desk and thinking about spirals, […]

The Groundbreaking Blickensderfer Electric

If you say “electric typewriter,” most people probably think of the legendary, and much admired, IBM Selectric. But, at the turn of the 20th century, when electrical transmission hadn’t even been standarized so voltages changed from town to town, the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Co. of Stamford, Conn. built the first electric typewriter. George Blickensderfer even invented […]

“Waiter, a dancer, Please!

We all know Billy Wilder from his wonderful films (Some Like It Hot; Double Indemnity; The Seven Year Itch; Sunset Boulevard; Sabrina; Witness for the Prosecution; and never forget Ace in the Hole (aka The Big Carnival) from 1951: as sharp a portrait of the seedy side of media-manipulating-the-public as I’ve ever seen. Now, a new book has been […]

Hermes Utraportables: iPads of their Era

In the early 1920s, a Swiss watch and music box manufacturer, Paillard. decided that, given its expertise in mechanical items, it would get into the booming typewriter business. The company named its typewriter subsidiary Hermes, after the Greek messenger of the gods. There were two basic kinds of typewriters: standard and portable. Standard machines were […]

Department of Corrections

Sadly, White-Out, Photoshop’s “Magic Eraser” tool, and, of course, the delete key, have stolen the common eraser’s thunder, but erasers are far from gone. Do you have pencils? Look at the end of them. Do you have mechanical pencils? Look at the end of them. (Do you use them much? Maybe not so much, but […]

Online course: The Fundamentals of Creative Nonfiction

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CREATIVE NONFICTION Tuesday Evenings, 6:30-9 p.m. (Atlantic Time), February 22-April 12 on Zoom Do you have a goal of launching a professional career as a creative nonfiction writer? Would you just like to dabble in the genre as a part-time endeavour? Are you simply curious about what’s involved in this kind of […]

Towards Bethlehem: Joan Didion

In the article, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” she captured the kaleidoscopic, off-kilter psychedelia of San Francisco’s hippies in the ’60s. It began: “The center was not holding.” In the title essay of her collection, The White Album (1979), she disclosed a psychological evaluation she’d had that year describing “a personality in process of deterioration,” and in […]

A Newspaper Novel

I recently finished Katherine Ashenburg’s novel, Her Turn, & highly recommend it. It has the breezy tone of chick lit but there the comparison ends. It’s beautifully crafted & much deeper & more nuanced. Liz, the journalist and single-mom protoganist, is in her 40s, seems to have it together but, as the onion skins are […]