If you’ve spent any time around infants, you recognize how much of their waking existence is focused on where to look. Grownups look mostly out of necessity—for hazards on the road they’re driving, for the words they’re typing on the screen, for the next item on their to-do lists. Infants look out of wonder, delighted […]
When I launched the project that would become my book Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold, one of the first people I told was my friend and fellow author Claire Rudolf-Murphy. Claire and Jane Haigh wrote Gold Rush Women, where I first read about Kate. There was a pause in Claire’s
I just spent three hours writing 74 words. I’m not usually so slow. In three hours, I’d more typically draft 750 or 1,000 or, on a good day, 1,500 words. But this project was different. I was drafting the back copy for the novel I’m revising. In other words, I was finding its focus.
Danish designer Poul Henningsen was obsessed with light. Inspired by the soft glow of pre-electric lighting, he devoted his life to designing electric lamps that would capture that glow. Electricity, he said, gave humans the possibility of “wallowing in light,” and yet there was the danger of losing the harmony of what once had been.
These are stressful times. More than ever, we creative types need grounding. By the dictionary, being grounded results in balance and stability. But I think of it more in terms of process, connecting with whatever it is that helps me to be in the moment when I write. Author John Straley talks of warming up
Last week, my husband and I made a trip we didn’t want to make, back to the Midwest to visit a friend who’s failing fast with early-onset Alzheimer’s. A good visit, but under incredibly sad circumstances. You’ve made trips like that, too, for all sorts of reasons. Life doesn’t stop. We make room. I hauled
One thing that can be easily said about writing—there’s no shortage of resources to help writers hone their craft. In general, that’s a good thing. But this abundance also adds to confusion as writers try out different rules and formulae, determining in one way or another that there are “have-tos” involved in this enterprise. There’s
It’s a crazy hypothetical, but let’s say you could only give one piece of writing advice, and the advice had to be expressed in a single sentence. Based on where we are along our trajectories as writers, each of us would choose differently. In large part because of the developmental editing assistance I render, my
North Words Writers Symposium wrapped up in Skagway recently. Jeff Brady, co-organizer, provides a vicarious look at this year’s conference. ~ JP The 8th annual North Words Writers Symposium in Skagway was the biggest yet. About 40 participants from all over Alaska and the Yukon were extolled by keynote author Paul Theroux to get out and
Just when I think I’ve achieved equilibrium, there’s a jolt. Such is life. That’s the Zen way of thinking. But I’m a writer, and writing demands focus. Under certain circumstances—death, illness, tragedy, the potential demise of democracy—focus is hard. It won’t help with all circumstances, but one source of wisdom I’ve returned to time and