Dispatches from my window, or, adjusting the blinds

Early in the new year, I got up too early (after duking it out with my old pal Insomnia) and watched the sun rise. Squinting in the dawn light, I started writing in my notebook, a crucial activity that I had let slide in the past few months as I tumbled down the hole of…… Continue reading Dispatches from my window, or, adjusting the blinds

The dog will always bark

God damn dog is barking now and it is time to get to work anyways. … the amazing thing is that the work goes on. And one day it will be through. — John Steinbeck, from Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath I first read Steinbeck’s Working Days, the diary he kept…… Continue reading The dog will always bark

Staying inside

Mercy. It’s grown a bit cobwebby here at U-Leaves HQ. I think I just saw something scuttle under the floorboards. Apologies to the spammers who keep landing on the same old posts. I know that you are awaiting more of my “extreme informational posts that exceed great influence.” I appreciate the “A+ for simply excellence…… Continue reading Staying inside

Spring, sprang, sprung

First, I must holler a mighty Congratulations! out to TW, who on March 1 successfully defended his thesis, Notebook, for his M.F.A. in Book Arts from the University of Alabama. Here is a digital scan of one version of his 50-edition handmade book: notebook tw. He will be posting more details soon on his website. Thus completes…… Continue reading Spring, sprang, sprung

Notebooks (Capital N)

I’m trying of late to keep a better writing notebook. I assign students a dedicated writing notebook most semesters, 5 entries a week, knowing that this is one of the best ways to generate and/or develop material. The entries can be raw, messy, or fragmented, self-generated or responses to exercises, but the point is to…… Continue reading Notebooks (Capital N)

Another kind of swimming

Once upon a time, I used to be a swimmer. I was never all that fast, but I pulled in a few blue ribbons for backstroke on my town’s tiny swim team. In my late teens/early twenties, I worked as a lifeguard during college summers, when I taught swim lessons and got more interested in…… Continue reading Another kind of swimming

To-Do List, Item #15: “You know the escape”

1. Write a 7-day to-do list, like you do every week. 2. Fill the list with myriad job-related tasks. Grade, prep, read, meeting, read, submit, upload, email, grade, grade, grade, meeting, meeting. Watch your pen fill the page, bleed off the page, make your fingers bleed. 3. Every week, write this at the bottom of…… Continue reading To-Do List, Item #15: “You know the escape”

Balloons in the sky

I’ve been doing yoga. What can I say? You get to wear flared stretchy pants and do poses with silly names (plus, you know, breathe and stretch for an hour). Admittedly, I struggle at times with yoga-speak: you know, that low, soothing, align-your-chakra-find-your-spirit-animal-visualize-your-best-self talk. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the Vortex Capital of…… Continue reading Balloons in the sky

The X of Y, or something

During my first year of full-time teaching, my fiction writing of course took a hit. In those last days of spring semester, I was barely holding on, slogging with clumsy feet, clawing at my throat with an eye on the glimmer in the distant sand: summer writing time. It’s a strange thing, though, to have…… Continue reading The X of Y, or something