Month: September 2016

Watched Pots Never Boil

Published by on September 23, 2016
Categories: Uncategorized

They say a watched pot never boils. They are right. In a hurry to cook spaghetti noodles, I’ve watched plenty of them and they never boil until you turn away. For me, as a writer, that pot is whatever book I’m working on. If I sit in front of the screen and I try to […]

On creating a world

Published by on September 19, 2016
Categories: Books Editing Plots and Characters

All storytellers bump up against the same challenges: What world will their characters inhabit? Will the world be large or will the story focus on a narrow segment of it? If a narrow world, will there be a broad sampling of characters? What are the rules of engagement in this world? What outside forces will […]

Character Study: The Man Child

Published by on September 16, 2016
Categories: Books Character Study

He was born to parents that would never, could never, understand him. For all intents and purposes, he was an alien. His parents were normal enough and that was the problem, for something about the boy invited abnormal adults to feel comfortable in his presence. To explain: Normal enough means regularly smart, while abnormal adult […]

Character Study: The Painter

Published by on September 11, 2016
Categories: Books Character Study

Trashed out. In need of repair. Dingy paint, chipped. Floors, scratches showing clean wood through years of grime or squares of linoleum tiles searching for their place among empty patches of dried glue. Ceilings, smoke stained; bathtubs, ringed with mineral deposits clinging to God only knew whose old skin. Chicken coop out back, empty except […]

Plots and Characters

Published by on September 9, 2016
Categories: Books Plots and Characters

I’ve been asked how it is I plot my novels. The short answer is: I don’t, not really, kinda sorta somewhat not. The correct answer is: I have a general idea of story, but when my characters surprise me, my stories always benefit. In other words, I write like John le Carré. For instance, my […]

Rainbow in a Lemon Fizz Can

Published by on September 9, 2016
Categories: Books Opinion

I first met Charles Olaf Johnson, or Chuck as friends call him, at my writing critique group run by Jedwin Smith. Chuck was in his mid-seventies, but that didn’t stop him from flirting. I remember thinking, “Dang, Chuck, if you were younger…holy cow, I would be in trouble.” And he knew I was thinking that. Chuck was awesomely […]

To Plot or Not to Plot

Published by on September 7, 2016
Categories: Books

To plot, or not to plot — that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the book to allow The characters to surprise the writer Or to make detailed plot assignments And, by controlling, end the surprise. To plan the plot — who knows — and by plan to say we end The heartache, and […]

Character Study: The Girl

Published by on September 5, 2016
Categories: Character Study

Long and tall she was born. Skin and bones, too, because her mother, determined to walk out of the hospital in her skinny pants, had eaten only goat’s milk and cornbread during her pregnancy thereby almost starving her firstborn. But the girl’s survival instinct was strong. So, using God’s very own system while plugged into […]

Gordon Unplugged: Math and Love

Published by on September 5, 2016
Categories: Uncategorized

Marston Morse was a mathematician who, if memory serves – and most simply at that — somehow defined the basis for string theory. In describing his journey to that discovery, he also happened upon a definition of male/female relationships, namely — The roads by which we arrive at our insights seem to me as worthy […]

Gordon Unplugged: The Best Therapy

Published by on September 2, 2016
Categories: Uncategorized

There is nothing like riding down the road with the radio turned up to traffic-annoying levels while singing along to a song and beating in time on the steering wheel. I discovered this when I was driving away from Lucinda’s house after she turned down my offer of marriage. Actually, I cried for a couple […]

The new passive-aggressive: Grateful and humbled

Published by on September 1, 2016
Categories: Opinion

I once knew a dynamic speaker who, just before he’d exit the stage, would insist that nobody clap for him. Instead, he’d say, spend the next two minutes in silence thinking about what I’ve said. After all, he’d continue, this vital and crucial information isn’t meant to bring honor and glory to me. No, no, […]