“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 […]

One Sentence at a Time: A Brief Review of Prison Writings

In the film adaptation of Michael Chabon’s book Wonder Boys, a creative writing professor quips about a budding student of his who has just been taken into police custody: “Between you and Officer Krupke, he can be the next Jean Genet. It’s been a long time since someone wrote a really good book in jail.” […]

The Good Doctors McHaney or A Pair of Southern Literature Scholars

On May 12, 2015, Georgia State University announced that Dr. Pearl Amelia McHaney has been named the new Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern American Literature, a prestigious title formerly given to only one other GSU professor, her husband, Dr. Thomas L. McHaney. Both the McHaneys agree they could never have predicted the parallels in […]

Meet Christine Nolfi, Queen of the Redemption Story

Zobie Marsh hides the fearsome talent of prophecy. Young, poor and grieving the loss of her beloved Black Gram, she leaves home suddenly to avoid the advances of her mother’s latest boyfriend. Her decision to travel to South Carolina sets in motion Heavenscribe, a spiritual transformation devised by angels to aid a dying world. Bel […]

Under Our Masks: Honesty in Memoir Writing

Did you ever wish you’d spent more time talking to your parents or grandparents about their earlier life? I sure do. My mother, for example, was one of those women who stepped into a man’s shoes during WWII to fill needed jobs, including as an air traffic controller. If only she’d written a memoir. Gretchen […]