Does Memoir Tell the Truth?

“But other people in my family have a whole different memory of what happened. You said ‘tell your truth,’ but how do I know what’s true?” Elbows planted on the table, the young woman leaned into her words while her large eyes sent out beams of light from under the rim of her straw hat. […]

Thomas Jefferson’s Amazing Library

While I was visiting Washington D.C., one of  the highlights of my time was spending the afternoon at the Library of Congress, an elegant, imposing building with architecture based on the Opera House of Paris.  The interior is simply breathtaking—every kind of artwork you can imagine is on display—you hardly know where to look, as there is such […]

Raising the Dead through Research: How an Academic Became a Novelist

Our newest blogger, Janet Hogan Chapman, debuts today. She was born in Atlanta and has lived in different areas of the city her entire life. She has a variety of life experiences: wife, mother, grandmother, physician’s assistant, caterer, costumed party character, minister, preschool teacher/director, elementary school teacher, university professor, and last but by no means least, […]

From Dante to the Marquis de Sade—Their Journals Tell All

As Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name?” Call it a journal, as C. S. Lewis did, or a diary, as did Virginia Woolf, they are one and the same. Many creative people keep them, especially writers. Journals chronicle innumerable things—often explorative insights into the authors’ private lives and relationships. Sometime they […]

“I forgot to say Hello” – Using In Medias Res to Open a Story

  We are on our way to the hospital, Ryan’s father says. Listen to me, Son: You are not going to bleed to death. Ryan is still aware enough that his father’s words come through on the edges, like sunlight on the borders of a window shade… On the seat beside him, in between him and […]

The Writers’ Room of Boston

Every writer is, in the profoundest way, on his or her own, and there is little we can do to help. Inspiration comes or it doesn’t, the form comes or it doesn’t, the end comes or it doesn’t. But nothing comes without a quiet place to sit and try things, and read them over, and […]

Fiction for an Unnatural Era – The Case for Magical Realism

Times are strange: our government can spy on us and say it’s for our protection. The folks who hold that abortion is murder also claim the right to carry guns. And a white woman (who claimed that she was black) gets elected local president for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Strange times […]