May
21
The Ghost of The Future
May
18
The Ghost of The Future

So You Want an A? Here’s What to Do

If you feel lost, overwhelmed, confused, drowned, or frustrated in a Newhem class, ask yourself: 1. Could this be Newhem’s plan? Does he want me to ask these very questions I’m asking myself about the subject matter? Could it be that if I’m asking fundamental questions about the subject matter and the reading material, and […]

Read More
May
11
The Ghost of The Future

Shaddup and Write

In 2004, almost exactly two years after my Uncle Mike’s death, he gave me some excellent advice. I’ll explain. We’d set up a scholarship in his name at my college, and I’d just announced the second annual recipient at a ceremony. I’d told the audience the scholarship honored my uncle, who’d dedicated his life to […]

Read More
Apr
20
The Ghost of The Future

How to Write to be Understood—Not to Impress

I spend a great deal of my life – the majority of my waking hours, and quite a few of my sleeping ones – fastidiously attempting to control language. I (infamously) employ words like “absquatulate” when nothing else will do. This is what pays my mortgage, and it’s also my calling, so I lucked out. […]

Read More
Mar
30
The Ghost of The Future
Mar
30
The Ghost of The Future
Mar
30
The Ghost of The Future

Blocked, My Ass – How Student Writers Can Triumph Over So-Called Writer’s Block (1)

Part 1 No, Virginia, you lazy whore—there’s no such thing as Writer’s Block. Writer’s Block’s the fairy-tale bastard child of limp, fearful weenies and too-tight pussies. If you want to write, fucking write. Otherwise, as Cliff Garner (First Inkling’s curmudgeonly co–editor) reminds us, “They’re hiring at the car wash.” Having said that, when you believe […]

Read More
Mar
30
The Ghost of The Future

Good Shit – In Pursuit of Empirical Quality in Student Creative Writing

“Excrement!” This from John Keating, the radical teacher played by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989). He’s maligning the fictional but damn plausible J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D., arbiter of excellent poetry. “We’re not laying pipe,” Keating insists, “… How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand—‘Well, I like Byron – I give him a […]

Read More
Mar
30
The Ghost of The Future
Mar
30
The Ghost of The Future

So You Want to Get Published?

As I’ve worked on my latest book, and the First Inkling staff has slaved over the slush pile pursuing the next Amy Hempel, some Associate Editors and writers have asked me recently about the “industry” to which they aspire: Well, here it is: Publishing is not dead, but neither is Kirk Douglas. It’s hard to believe either […]

Read More