The 10 Best Lines in Literature: Let the Debate Begin

By Michael Kahn The editors of The American Scholar–the quarterly publication of the Phi Beta Kappa Society–have published a piece on their website featuring their ten favorite sentences from fiction and nonfiction. Several were familiar, including one each from The Great Gatsby, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, A Farewell to Arms, and Pride and Prejudice. My favorite of [...] Read More →

The Long Road and Voices in My Head

This past Saturday I hopped into my car and hit the road for six hours. I don’t usually make “solo trips” this long anymore, but decided “Why ever not?” (and there were other enticements to hitting the asphalt for this particular short trip). So, off I went, rattling down the road, with my trusty iPhone [...] Read More →

Memory and Narrative in Crime Fiction

Memory and Narrative in Crime Fiction   This was not the blog I had planned to write, but something unexpected happened. I was going through old files and came across an essay I had written many years ago and had forgotten, which is ironic, since the essay is about memory.      Its title is [...] Read More →

THE RAGBAG ENGLISH LANGUAGE

By Jeanne Matthews My favorite war is the war between the sticklers who insist on adhering to standard definitions and usages, and the anarchists who say that a word’s meaning depends on how it’s used, irregardless of whether it makes the sticklers cringe.

Tellin’ Stories

So I had to get some bloodwork done, at a hospital an hour’s drive from my house. At first there didn’t seem to be a problem, but on the way home, a hematoma developed right in the crook of my elbow. Pain, swelling, the whole nine yards. I ended up ducking into a McDonald’s and [...] Read More →

Wanna Get Away?

Alert readers will recall that my last post was about my experiences as a volunteer mediator in the local court system. Since that post I was involved in a mediation that was centered around the purchase of an industrial rug shampooer. It was a routine small claims conflict: one guy bought the machine, claimed it [...] Read More →

Brand Yourself

The National Endowment for the Arts gave the Oceanside, California library a stack of money to promote the literary genre called noir. A gracious librarian asked if I would give a talk and also participate on a panel on the subject of noir. Sure, I said, especially since they offered money. Then the preparation and [...] Read More →

Book Jitters

This will be short tonight and it’s one of those posts that is entirely different from what I intended to write. I’ll save my real post for next time. I’ll be back in Kansas next week and give five talks. One of them is directed toward the English and history students of Fort Hays State [...] Read More →

Absent Friends

I ordered a gift from Amazon and there they were on my addresses list, two people I saw frequently.  They were listed for the exact same reason: they were in chemotherapy. I sent them each, at different times, a package of the funniest movies I could order, with a note that said, “Research has proven [...] Read More →

The joy of beginnings

Oh, the joy of beginnings. Yesterday, Tammy Kaehler wrote about starting all over again. She and Tina Whittle and I (and perhaps others of you out there) have recently turned in a final manuscript and are now in that curious space between books. Personally, I love it here. Before the first words are written, even [...] Read More →