Category Archives: Writing

The Best line from a Student Paper

Although I have read many great student sentences over the years, probably the most memorable one is from my student’s essay when I was teaching in the United States. One of my students was writing about Frederick Douglass, the famous … Continue reading

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Misplacing People by Modifiers

Normally when I am reading articles, especially those on a topic outside my field of study, I often gloss over errors or problems with the prose. Sometimes I am halted in midsentence by an utterance that is troubling in terms … Continue reading

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How Using Academic Research is like being in an Argentinian Argument

Although many academics tacitly accept that research makes a paper stronger, they don’t exactly examine that premise. In fact, if the paper is well argued, and has evidence it has garnered from the primary text(s), other sources are superfluous. They … Continue reading

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Self-reliance and the Helping Hand

Someone asked me recently if my books were linked by a common trait and for a moment I found the question daunting. Then I leapt at the one attribute that they all possess, from my long poem to academic work … Continue reading

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Something to Show for Each Year

I am frequently asked why I bother writing my various books. I don’t have a huge audience to satisfy like Stephen King or J. K. Rowling. In my case, my books sell sporadically and I don’t know there is a … Continue reading

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Textual Reality and the Phenomenological World

Although my friend’s daughter asked me one time if the story I had just told her was a “true story,” most people acknowledge—however reluctantly in the case of Harry Potter fans—that the characters in the stories they read are fictional. … Continue reading

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Working on the Birth and Death of Planeville

I have spent the last few months—when I can spare a moment from teaching and marking—working on my novel about the now extinct village of Planeville. In some ways this project has been more difficult than others, perhaps because although … Continue reading

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Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews

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The Origin of Planeville

The settlers of Planeville pulled a living from the south facing slope by planting apples trees on the bank, floated spruce and fir down the river to Jewet’s mill so the lumber could be sold in town, and scraped gardens … Continue reading

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Fifty Shades and a Silo of the Publishing Industry

The so-called vanity press has changed little in the public imagination until very recently. Traditionally, paying to have your book published was seen as synonymous with junk novels and sentimental and self-indulgent poetry. The only route to acceptance by the … Continue reading

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