Do I Hinder Your Good Intentions?

Spiritual Matters

416fdulawyl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Lately I’ve been working to complete a long project. A book, I dare say. Between writing and doing work that pays the bills, I’ve ignored this blog. It’s a shame. I enjoy publishing an article and seeing if anyone notices.

Unexpectedly this morning, however, a loud idea for a posting struck. The article could be composed quickly, without great imposition on my regular schedule. And the piece would be about spirituality, a topic not previously addressed here. The promise of a new subject was refreshing.

What inspired me? Synchronous readings. Coincidences usually trigger my “Is it odd or God?” response. They alert me to take notice, as if the Universe is winking at me. 

So it was with this morning’s spark.


Technique Dada Cut-Up Burroughs

Poetry, Writing Advice

to-make-a-dadaist-poem-by-tristan-tzaraThe idea for this post came while watching an episode of Luther. In one scene, Luther has spread crime photos across the floor. A detective enters, asking why the mess. Luther says he’s using the David Bowie decoupage technique. (I’m roughly paraphrasing, so forgive any inexactness.)

Ah-ha! I thought. The old William S. Burroughs cut-up technique! Was Bowie really a practitioner?

I ran to the internet to verify that Bowie was, in fact, a cutter-upper, and then to see his application, if possible.

What is the core of this scene?

Writing Advice

coppola4Francis Ford Coppola has published the notebook that he used while making The Godfather. This thrills me because I’ve repeatedly viewed a YouTube video of him displaying the notebook. Watch the video here.

Years ago I downloaded the video so I’d have it if ever it was removed. That’s how much I love this clip.

Seeing the effort that went into a masterpiece always encourages me. We’re often led to believe that great works are immaculately created. In truth, most, if not all of our favorite things, resulted from diligent, hard work. That gives hope that by applying time, focus, and knowledge of craft, plus challenging my imagination repeatedly, then good–maybe great–works are possible. That’s the hope, anyway.

My haiku at


Overwhelmed by stress? Why not take a moment to read haikus (including one of mine) at

My piece is in current issue #41, and reads:

Courage is no mask
Fabricated by the mind
But the heart’s whisper

Very grateful to TLP for including my work!

If enjoying some tightly crafted verse doesn’t relieve what ails ya, why not pen some of your own in the comments section below?

Book Suggestion: Write like the Masters, by William Cane

Writing Advice

41bzh2h1h9l-_sx324_bo1204203200_Reviewing old notes in my Evernote account, I found a collection of quotes from Write like the Masters, by William Cane.

The book collects facts about the writing habits of famous writers. Go get a copy of the book at Amazon. It’s fantastic. 

Here is what I noted about the master, Ray Bradbury. As memory serves, some text comes directly from the book and some I paraphrased. I’ll add commentary at the end.

“When Ray Bradbury wrote his first draft he didn’t simply write quickly and without censoring himself, he actually purposefully overwrote, trying to come up with multiple takes on sentences and figures of speech, for instance, which he intended to prune and edit later. . . . ‘Sometimes I give myself, on a single page, 4, 5, or 6 similes which by the fifth draft, dwindle down to one or two really good ones, for proper emphasis.’ He overwrote so that later, when in ‘editing mode,’ he could choose the best phrase or the most apt figure of speech; in effect during the first draft he made his own thesaurus of words and phrases, from which he selected later while reviewing his work.

Increase the Drama with Contrasts

Writing Advice


yin_yang-svgAs a kid, I collected comic books. I can’t count how many had covers that boasted, in exploding fonts, a collision of “Fire vs. Water!” or “Muscle vs. Metal!” Why were these contrasts of force so common? Because they’re easy and surely the writers were deadline-driven. But beyond that, these couplings are rich with conflict. Each side is an intrinsic obstacle to the other.

Spitballing Past Writer’s Block

Writing Advice

Here’s a tip for when writer’s block has seized you in creative paralysis.

One day this past summer, I suffered from a mid-story blockage. I’d written what felt like half a story, but was unsure of where the action should go, unable to see what my characters should do. Taking a break from doing nothing, I watched the trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass. In the clip he tells the group of writers to toss out lousy ideas (paraphrasing). Like a wet gob of paper shot into the eye, the solution to my struggles struck: Spitballing.