Form and Void

I finished the first draft of my novella last night. But I don't feel anything except that same old sense of loss and emptiness. The only time I ever enjoy writing is when I'm in the middle of it. Once I finish--and I mean like 10 minutes after I write the last word of the… Continue reading Form and Void

Reyn til Runa: Seek the Mysteries

There is an emotional truth or reality at the center of a story I may be writing.  I have a fleeting sense of it and then I start off by trying to explore it, trying to get to the center.  Then I always stop.  Sometimes it's because I've forgotten that "fleeting sense" and consequently do… Continue reading Reyn til Runa: Seek the Mysteries

Nine Thoughts on Making Art

You don't need to be famous to be an artist. You just need to make art. You don't need to make art in any particular style or volume or at any particular rate. These considerations come from industries interested in art as a product that can be sold, irrespective and ignorant of the creative process.… Continue reading Nine Thoughts on Making Art

Looking Forward

I started this website years ago, when I was living in East Africa and had no idea when I'd be leaving. The idea was to experiment with travel non-fiction essays I might eventually submit to magazines. But, over time, The Writing Expedition became more than that. I've begun to notice a theme emerging—the same theme… Continue reading Looking Forward

On Envying Other Writers

Dost thou wish to be praised by a man who curses himself thrice every hour? Wouldst thou wish to please a man who does not please himself? Does a man please himself who repents of nearly everything that he does? - Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, Book VIII Most writers will tell you that envying the… Continue reading On Envying Other Writers

What am I working on?

My friend and fellow writer, K. Murphy Wilbanks kindly mentioned me in a blog post focusing on what she's working on right now. So I will follow suit. Though I have the usual 100 things blowing up my computer, I am focusing on a few big projects at the moment. What am I working on?… Continue reading What am I working on?

The MFA Distortion Field (yes, Dottie, and not just in Iowa)

I sat down today intending to write a piece critical of certain shrill MFA voices that seem to have gotten shriller since MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction hit the shelves last February. Is “shriller” actually a word? It is. But it only takes meaning as a comparative adjective once something that… Continue reading The MFA Distortion Field (yes, Dottie, and not just in Iowa)

It Never Ends

For me, writing fiction means staying wide open to human experience by giving myself permission to be vulnerable and to intuit how other people can be vulnerable in the same ways.  It’s about representing that complex emotional mystery with as much sincerity and authenticity as possible—not as some kind of living camera, but as an… Continue reading It Never Ends

You Do What You Are

Back in Michigan, I studied more literature than was required for my degree because I enjoyed being around lit professors and grad students. Once a well-meaning lit student in one of those classes said to me, "It's great that you want to become a fiction writer." I said, "Actually, I am a fiction writer. But… Continue reading You Do What You Are