A Close Read of Melville

  A Close Read of Melville What I like about writing is the complexity teased out and wrestled with in seemingly ordinary, everyday subjects.  Mystery, discovery, and detail surrounds us if you can train your eye to see it. I read Chapter 58 of “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville this morning titled “Brit.”  It’s only…

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Things Fall Apart

“If someone ever asks you what you’ll be doing at some given time tell them, instead, where you’ll be.  The details of what you’ll be doing are unimportant, and unknown.  The importance of what you’ll be doing is implied.  You’re living your life to its fullest.  Namely, you’re observing nature, cause and effect, asking questions,…

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George and Bill

[George and Bill sat on George’s back porch drinking lemonade, looking out over a Texas tank pond, surrounded by the mesquite and willow trees, late on a warm summer afternoon.] “Question, Georgie boy.” “Yeah, Bill.” “They say you don’t remember what a person says, you remember how a person made you feel.  What the hell…

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Sergeant and the Sir

Sergeant and the Sir They’d just finished each an MRE.  Then they sat on each a rock.  They were high on the mountain and the sun was nearly set.  The valley below, straight down, was red.  Everything was red, or chocolate brown.  It must look like Mars.  There are parts of the green and blue…

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Under a Green Oak Tree

It was spring and the green was neon.  The tree was an oak and under it the two brothers stopped to talk.  Birds were screaming all around them and it was pretty the way the sun  shown through the new leaves on the tree. “You don’t need to do anything.  You certainly don’t need to…

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God Fearing

God Fearing It is one thing to tell a story.  It is another thing for anyone to listen to your story.  Telling true stories is when you hold up a mirror to your audience.  How then do we discover truth?  How are discoveries made?; the same way Columbus made them; with experimentation, exploration, and innovation…

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Life In America

Life In America The land is so flat and open it seems like you’re looking clear across north America and that maybe the tips of Chicago’s skyscrapers will, on a clear day, be visible 1000 miles to the north. At the furthest reaches of your vision, in a complete circle, level with that vision, where…

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Stealing Fear

Stealing Fear Your work needs a theme.  So find your fear.  This is hard.  Find out what you’re afraid of then dramatize that.  That is your theme. If you can’t think of one steal one until it’s yours now. Fear is one thing.  Identifying that fear is another.  Clarify and solidify a few fears and…

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“Make It Don’t Say It”

“Make It Don’t Say It” The action creates the feeling.  You cannot tell someone how to feel by describing your own.  You can only show them.  The implicit demand behind “do you love me?” has worked zero times in the history of abstract thought. “All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write…

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Relentless Nature

    Relentless Nature Dan was the new kid at school.  In the car ride home his mom read between the lines of his silence. She thought for a moment.  “Dan, sweetie, it’s the weirdos, the standouts, that get all the juice out of life.  It’s because of the snowball-effect. “The snowball-effect is a variation…

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