Archive for Writing

Who Gets the Last Word?

America is exhausted…

In the middle of the most devastating pandemic in 102 years, Americans watched the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis. They learned of the police break-in and murder of an innocent black woman, Breonna Taylor, in Louisville. They watched as police used tear-gas and flashbangs to break up a peaceful protest in Washington in order to give the president a Biblical photo op. They saw unidentified federal troops dispatched to Portland and Seattle to quell “violent left wing” Black Lives Matter protests .  read more

The Surface of Things…

As a writer, I’m trying to avoid the three Big topics of the day:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Covid-19
  • Donald Trump

These are this week’s low hanging fruit. Unless I have something personal to add, I think they’re better left to professionals working those beats while I limit my perspective to the surface of things – at least for today.

The events of the past few months have impacted the way we live our lives. We see the world differently because of the invisible threat. We’re aware that it’s inherently dangerous and unpredictable. The fallout from it has taken me places I thought I’d never go and given me permission to navel gaze as never before. read more

“I Have No More Words.”

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is a man of few words. He is the sometimes boyfriend of Mma Precious Ramotswe, the title character in Alexander McCall Smith’s series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Mr. Matekoni is a car mechanic in Botswana where the series is set. He is a simple man – wise and laconic – who, when asked to explain something, often responds with “I have no more words.” I use it jokingly when M pushes hard to continue a conversation I’m not comfortable with.

Today, it’s not a joke. It’s exactly how I feel. “I have no more words” to explain what’s currently consuming us – a killer virus, police brutality, racial division, a violent culture, government stalemate – in effect our whole existence on this 2nd of June 2020. read more

Sliding Tiles and Memory…

With the dual contagions of Clovid-19 and Donald Trump in the air, I’ve been looking for an escape from the news cycle. It’s exhausting, but after combing the Netflix, Amazon Video, and Audible libraries while rereading The Plague, The Andromeda Strain, and Love in the Time of Cholera I think the solution is to go back to work. Writing as therapy.

Most writers carry a notebook where they jot down snippets of dialogue or the elements of a scene, so they have material for a story or article, but I was always a lousy notetaker. Back in college, when I was studying for an exam, I had a hard time making sense of my notes. Nothing stood out. I’d look at them and see nothing but “the” or “and” as if they were the important facts in a lecture. I was hopeless. It didn’t take long to learn I’m an oral and visual learner which is why I love the iPhone camera and why I never wanted to miss a class lecture. read more