Just My Two Cents Worth

Having been a student of Jack Grapes, I am privileged to be on his email list and receive messages about reading and activities that inspire thoughts about the nature of writing.  In a recent email from Jack about authenticity in writing, I read this opening question, “If you can’t do it in the journal, what … Continue reading

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The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat, Part II

In the latter half of Chapter III of Barbara Sjoholm’s The Pirate Queen:  In Search of Grace O’Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea, the author finds a woman who tells her the truth about women’s fishing history in Norway. “The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat” (c0ntinued) Excerpted by permission of the author from … Continue reading

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The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat

The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat We are pleased to present Chapter VIII of Barbara Sjoholm’s new book in two parts.  In this chapter, the author tracks down information on a woman who at age 59 was the sole survivor of a boating accident off the Shetland Islands in the winter of 1886.  Looking for … Continue reading

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A Conversation with writer Barbara Sjoholm

This past spring, The Seattle Times ran a review of Barbara Sjoholm”s new book The Pirate Queen:  In Search of Grace O”Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea.  The review opens: If Janet Forsyth lived in the here and now, instead of 17th-century Scotland, she would be on the front page across the country. … Continue reading

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Remembering Your Birthdays

In Mitch Albom’s tale, 83-year-old Eddie Maintenance, as children call him because of the stitching on his work shirt, dies in an amusement park accident at Ruby Pier, where he has spent decades making sure that all the rides are operating safely.  In the course of the book and our introduction to Albom’s version of … Continue reading

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Email Conversation with Poet and Non Fiction Author Tim McNulty

This March, I attended the first annual Burning Word Festival on Whidbey Island, a 30-minute ferry ride from my home, for a day devoted to listening to poetry and instruction by Washington State practitioners.  On the way over to the island on a very early ferry, I watched high school students in brightly colored sports … Continue reading

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Prose and Poetry from Northwest Poet, Naturalist and Nonfiction Writer Tim McNulty

In the few days he had between meeting his deadlines and leaving for a month at a remote fire lookout in the North Cascades National Park, naturalist, author and poet Tim McNulty took the time to answer some questions that I had posed to him about his career. In addition, he also graciously gave me … Continue reading

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Try Your Hand at Fiction

Summers in Port Townsend, WA, an arts organization called Centrum hosts a ten-day writers conference.  It is a sensational time, with nationally known poets and writers teaching participants who are serious about writing. Highlights include craft lectures and readings in a small auditorium across from tennis courts at the State Park entrance.  Almost twenty-five years … Continue reading

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Review of Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer by Jenna Glatzer

In Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments (Nomad Press, 2004), writer Jenna Glatzer, who is Editor-in-Chief of absolutewrite.com, may insult some of us in her early chapters as she offers tips on blazing trails toward magazine article publishing, but by Chapter Six, her book is of real … Continue reading

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The Argument and Persuasion Essay

What does it take to write persuasively and to move others to read and stay interested in your point-of-view?  What does it take to write to change their thinking and behavior? Eda La Shan, the early childhood specialist, once said something about dealing with children that I remember when writing argument-and-persuasion essays.  She said that … Continue reading

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Put Summer on the Page

Ray Bradbury’s novel Dandelion Wine has long been a favorite of mine. In one summer, the novel’s protagonist, twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding, encounters the richness of life.  The book opens with the announcement that he is allowed to sleep in his grandparents’ cupola one night a week during summer vacation, and upon waking, he performs a … Continue reading

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Nancy Pearl’s Introduction to Book Lust

Copyright ©2003 by Nancy Pearl. Reprinted from Book Lust by Nancy Pearl with permission of Sasquatch Books. I love to read. And while I might not absolutely agree with the Anglo-American man of letters Logan Pearsall Smith, who said, “People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading,” I come awfully close to … Continue reading

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An Interview with Book Lust author Nancy Pearl (the Most Avid Reader Anyone Knows)

After years of spreading the word far and wide about reading and drumming up interest in books and literature, Nancy Pearl, the Seattle Library’s Director of Programming and Director for the Washington Center for the Book, has a new book out herself.  It’s entitled Book Lust:  Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason.  At … Continue reading

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Writing to Explore Admiration, Part 2

Many of us know the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night“ by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who is pleading in his famous villanelle that his father not easily give in to death.  The archetype of the father is strong in all of us, even if our own fathers remain enigmas to … Continue reading

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Ashes

This essay first appeared in Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Essay, Volume 9, Number 2. Feldman Brothers’ mortuary of Denver called two days after Seth’s death to say we could come to get his ashes.  My husband Kurt and I left for the mortuary with the idea of driving to scatter some of our … Continue reading

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A Conversation with David Horowitz, Poet and Publisher

This spring, I met publisher and poet David D. Horowitz, who was selling books from his Rose Alley Press, at the Redmond, Washington Poets in the Park Conference.  As I browsed the press’s well-designed, handsome books, David asked if he could read me a poem from one.  “Of course,” I said, and he read from … Continue reading

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Coaxing Imaginative Awareness

Braided Creek:  A Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press) offers wisdom, sensitive observation and love of essence.  On the book’s back cover, the editors have written that one of the poets said, “This book is an assertion in favor of poetry and against credentials.” According to my Webster’s, a … Continue reading

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Prompts to Make Shapely, Focused Stories (and Essays)

Writers often use prompts to help them come up with original ways of opening and organizing their work.  Whenever I dip into The Writer’s Idea Book and The Writer’s Idea Workshop by Jack Heffron, I find help for inventing and shaping ideas that I want to grow into finished pieces.  Here are some words from … Continue reading

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Resources for Writers of Personal Experience

It’s spring-cleaning time, and I’ve gone through my files and bookshelves to update resources for those who write from personal experience.  Here is Part I of my annotated list of resources, including books, journals and websites: Books on How to Write Essays and How To Find Subjects from Your Experience for All Your Writing The … Continue reading

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Writing for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day approaching, I once again reread two poems by Stanley Plumly that I admire. In “Say Summer/For My Mother,” Plumly writes: I could give it back to you, perhaps in a season, say summer.  I could give you leaf back, green grass, sky full of rain… And in “Two Moments, for My Mother,” … Continue reading

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