Knocking Down the Kitchen

Daniel Orozco told the class that writing a story was like building a wall and all the words were bricks and you don’t build a wall all at once. It takes shape one brick at a time.  Another construction metaphor was used in revision.  Kim Barnes talked of remodeling the kitchen when thinking of reworking …

To Sort of Tell the Truth or What’s my Lie(s)

One semester in grad school we read for a nonfiction class two memoirs.  One was Geronimo’s Bones and the other was A Million Little Pieces.  It was quite a coincidence that during that semester they were both uncovered as frauds to one degree or another and that fired the debate about the truth in nonfiction. …

The Truth Behind the Lie(s)

In a crowded auditorium in Walla Walla, Washington’s Whitman College, a student raised his hand and asked Tim O’Brien why he wrote fiction about his war experiences.  O’Brien said, “To tell truths that I can’t tell in nonfiction.”  Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pam Houston, Flannery O’Conner

Whose Story?

Just saw Quentin Tarantino’s new film Django Unchained. I was excited to see it.  The first review I read was Spike Lee’s statement that he wasn’t going to see it because it was an insult to his ancestors. The debate about who as the right to tell a story concerning slavery was in my head …

It’s not all about YOU.

The four squad-bosses gathered around the wildfire-truck.  We had been assigned to dig and secure a section of fire-line that dove into a steep canyon and then in burn it off to create a firebreak and hold it through the late afternoon.   At the end of the day we debriefed

Sobbing for Home

My friend, who I liked to call Beezer, had an unlit cigarette dangling from her mouth, hiked her butt onto the edge of the pool table and took a shot, sinking the number she had called.  Before her next shot she took a big drink.  I told her, “Is this the day we chase the …