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February 26, 2007
A student pouted at me in conference today and said she doesn’t care about writing or reading well. She wants a good grade, and to finish her biology degree, and to get a high-paying job in quality control at her favorite meatpacking plant.
February 22, 2007
My wife makes more money as an internationalization coordinator than I have ever made, even as a corporate writer.
February 20, 2007
Multiply 15 minutes of fame by 6 billion people, and you’re bound to run across someone famous sometime. Some encounters are more notable than others.There was that night in Santa Monica, when the girl I was with asked a familiar-looking man at a café table if we’d seen his work, and he said haughtily, “I’ve been in many, many things.” Later that night we remembered he did supermarket commercials in the style of the more famous Mr. Whipple. Later still, the girl borrowed the keys to my truck to get her jacket and stole all my things.
February 15, 2007
Your entries to the “One True Sentence” contest prove you’ve seen and heard some things. No wonder you have that mad gleam in your eyes.It was difficult for Mrs. Churm, but with two sons of her own, she chose, “I’ve seen both of my brother’s crying at the same woman’s kiss that left marks on them that looked like welts, but was only lipstick.” So Noah wins. Noah wins.
February 13, 2007
The "One True Sentence" contest will remain open another day. Give it a try! See the two previous posts for details.Until then, here's an essay I wrote for the current issue of Adjunct Advocate: " On Babies ." (It probably isn't what you think.)
February 11, 2007
In the last post, I wrote about Ernest Hemingway’s “Paris 1922” writing exercise, which helped him find his mature style. “All you have to do is write one true sentence,” he said. “Write the truest sentence that you know.”
February 9, 2007
Students often tell me the old lie they’ve been told themselves—Hemingway’s prose is simplicity itself. (“What do Hemingway scholars have to talk about?” a grad student sneered, a beer and a cig in his hands.) But once you start looking at it, the prose is too idiosyncratic to be called simple. In fact, it looks more like poetry.
February 8, 2007
I was brought up short by the snap of recognition the other day.In classes I often use the late Michael S. Reynolds’s wonderful books on Hemingway. Last week we looked at secondary source material that Hemingway probably read before he wrote of the execution of the six Greek cabinet ministers (“Chapter V”) in In Our Time. This is Hem’s whole chapter:
February 5, 2007
How did the Liberty Bell get stuck in an ugly prefab, which looks like a small rest stop you’d see outside Des Moines, in the corner of an empty lot across from Independence Hall?
February 2, 2007
I’ll admit it: It took me too long to come around to Scotland, and I blame that on the American tendency to reduce all culture to the equivalent of soda pop, oversweet and easily swallowed.




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