Question For My Father, Who Lives Alone

  Dad had a birthday today. “I never thought I’d live to 82,” he said. “Dad,” I told him, “You’re 85.” “Oh! So I am!” he said. We took him for a hamburger. In a couple of weeks there’s some live music we’ll take him to. It’s a stretched-out birthday. Visits are quiet. After two […]

5 Rights Teen Writers Deserve

…and teen non-writers deserve them, too. Teens have taught me a bunch about writing over the last couple of decades–both the teens who have already written five novels and the ones who would rather scrub under the refrigerator than pick up a pen. For a lot of teens, writing was ruined for them by third […]

You Know You’re a Fantasy Writer When…

by Kayleen Gill, who is one of my TEENWriters. You know you’re a fantasy writer when… 1. …you spend countless hours inventing an Elvish alphabet. 2. …you have an ongoing debate with a friend over whether dragons are irredeemably evil or not. 3. …you’re worried that the FBI might investigate you because you keep Googling […]

The Sweetness in Fearless Writing

“Some days I feel the ground shifting beneath me, the revelations bursting like fireworks over my head,” I wrote a few days into inviting the bogeyman of Dad’s mental illness onto my blog. “I’ve thought that too much introspection was keeping me from my work. But I’m noticing that I’m suddenly finishing things and embarking […]

Living with Bogeymen

The day after I put my secret blog post together about the Children of Suicide, I got emotional backlash. I had thought I could write about other people’s trauma, throw in some psychobabble, and remain unaffected. But facing the Bogeyman isn’t like that–even if you think you are only doing a research paper on the literary […]

Children of Suicide Club

Taken at Seattle “Out of the Darkness” Suicide Prevention Walk for AFSP   The secret blog entry in the link below was a tentative step toward the chasm. Writing publicly about it felt reckless, wrong and necessary:   http://gardenofmirth.blogspot.com/2006/01/children-of-suicide-club.html

“Busty Sphinx” or “The Unique Gift of a Secret Blog”

Writing an anonymous blog during the years that I did unlocked me in ways I hadn’t expected. When you write as an occupation, you must concern yourself with markets and audiences, trends and tropes. It’s possible to wake up one morning and realize you can’t remember why you wanted to write in the first place. There is […]

Target Offers Schools Grants for Author Visits

Target is accepting grant applications through April 30 for their Early Childhood Reading Grant and their Arts, Culture and Design in Schools Grant. Each could be used to fund an author visit, artist residency or arts workshop in your school. Early Childhood Reading Grants can also be used for libraries and non-profit organizations. Each grant […]