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    >My new video "A HARD DAY'S KNIGHT," in which I don chain mail to find glory, donuts and spare change for my quest. BIGGER SCREEN ON YOU TUBE

    CLASSIC BOOK trailer! [bigger screen on YouTube]

    more videos here

    Entries in writing (5)


    Writing and the Literary Life in Rhode Island

    Over 100 folks came out to the ”Writing and the Literary Life in Rhode Island" roundtable and meet-and-greet on Monday, September 17, that I helped organized with GrubStreet and SchoolOne. The event featured representatives from literary and writing organizations across the state including Frequency Writers, What Cheer Writers Club, Reading with Robin/Point Street Reading Series, Rhode Island Center for the Book, Association of Rhode Island Authors, Ocean State Review, and others. 

    here are some photos from the event itself, and you can watch my video interview preview of the event here on GoLocal Prov LIVE below. 

    Preview of the event here on GoLocal Prov LIVE below. 




    My first foray into online teaching

    I'm taking the plunge into online teaching! Introducing my first workshop for 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center Online Writing Program -- "Absent Fathers, Controlling Mothers, Treacherous Exes and Other Interpersonal Dysfunction: Writing the Publishable Relationship Essay," running April 18 to April 22. Join this class and write essays together during this intensive and supportive week. More info here.



    June/July classes at Grub Street


    Free Teen Creative Writing Program at Somerville Public Library

    Are you a teen who likes to write stories about aliens, blogs, flash fiction, or poems? Are you interested in becoming a novelist, short story writer or poet?

    Somerville Public Library's Teen Creative Writing Program will offer teens writing exercises to flex their writing muscles in a fun, low-pressure, supportive environment.

    Click to read more ...


    Cold, blue-white-lit, MacBook-fueled terror. AKA writer’s block.

    [This post originally appeared on Grub Street's Grub Street Daily]

    If you are a writer, you know about magical thinking. About the power of procrastination. About the very attractive, rational idea that if your pencils — OK, my pencils — are lined up by descending size, and if I’ve placed my garbage safely on the curb each Monday night, and sorted the recyclables according to the City of Somerville’s strict regulations, and if I’ve had that one extra, perfect cup of [insert beverage of choice here] — but not TOO much, of course — now, yes, only now, at last, under these special conditions and only under these conditions, will the dark clouds finally part to reveal a clear view to Mount Olympus, Asgard, Nirvana, or the god-home or muse-home of your choice.

    If and only if … then, and only then … the writing can begin.

    Ah, that kooky reason of the writerly mind. I barely scraped by in my math classes and never took logic, but this OCD-borne, ADD-driven hocus-pocus makes perfect sense to me. It always does.

    Because, you see, sans these magical, mystical or practical conditions, writer’s block rules with a dark chocolate fist. (I was going to say “iron fist,” but my students’ Cliché-O-Meters would go through the roof and they’d rightfully nail me for not practicing what I preach, i.e. being a lazy writer and relying on received language. There’s also a better reason for this odd image: Only a dark chocolate fist could truly lord over me. I would laugh at all other fists. Except maybe a mithril fist. But I digress.)

    Back to writer’s block, from which I suffer. Of course, writer’s block is a fabrication. It’s balderdash, malarkey, baloney, bunk, hogwash, bull, hokum. To quote Woody Allen, “It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.” Because anyone can write. Yes, even you. Now.

    Here: I’ll give you an assignment:

    There’s a wedding cake smashed on the side of I-93. After what chain of events did this come to pass? Take 10 minutes to write. Explain the backstory. Oh, you want more time? You’re not done yet? See — writing is easy.

    Oh, you mean write something great?


    It’s under these conditions of greatness, the desire for greatness, that writer’s block truly thrives. Because, of course, writer’s block is fear. Cold, blue-white-lit, MacBook-fueled terror. Paralyzing, blizzard-white dread, wrought in 8-and-a-half-inch-by-11-inch rectangles. Sharp, deadly, cruel. Aye, cut you to the core, they will, matey.

    As we talked about in my recent class “So You Want To Be a Writer,” this fear can strike at any time, at any hour in a writer’s day or week or career. I think it’s partly fear of failure. And partly fear of success.  As Sonya Larson recently and so wisely wrote in the pages of this blog, “So long as my novel lives with just me, I’m okay … But once it’s out in the world, I can’t help it anymore, I can’t make it better. What if people think, ‘Really? You spent five years making that?’” [In the place of "novel," insert "poem," "essay," "story," "book idea," etc.]

    Ipso fatso: That overwhelming urge to not write, to slink into the den for another night of baseball and reality TV and one-bite brownies, is fear of exposure of being a fraud. Of risking greatness.

    So how do you prevail? You learn to live with that fear. You learn to not pay attention to the voices that strive to defeat you. I can tell you, after more than 23 years of trying to take myself seriously as a writer, these petty panics, agitations, trepidations, consternations, distresses, anxieties, worries, angsts, and uneases never quite, well, ease up.

    Like a loud neighbor living in the third floor of your Somerville triple-decker (whostill stomps around like a six year old), you learn to live with it. You say to yourself, “Oh yeah, I know you.” You think, “I’ve seen and heard you before.” And you grumble to yourself, “I know you’re going to make me feel lousy. Ha, I already feel lousy. So there.”

    You hear, but you don’t listen. You slip in your ear buds. You cast a spell.

    You keep writing.

    And maybe not worry about greatness so much, OK?

    [If you're looking for a practical, non-emotional, peanuts-and-bolts, guaranteed writer's block-free class, I'm teaching this one-night seminar "How to Pitch Your Articles, Op-eds, and Essays for Publication" on Monday, September 12th, 6:30-9:30pm. In three hours, I'll pass on all I know about how to write killer pitch letters (aka “query letters” or “cover letters”) for submitting essays, op-eds, articles and feature stories to editors of magazines, newspapers, literary magazines, and online publications. There are a few slots left. I hope you can join us.]

    A Grub instructor and Board member, Ethan Gilsdorf not only suffers from writer’s block. He also teaches a lot of different classes. He writes for places like, the Boston Globe,, Playboy, National Geographic Traveler, Poetry, The Southern Review, Psychology Today, and the New York Times. Some people have enjoyed his book, a travel memoir investigation called Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. He has interviewed Sir Ben Kingsley, David Carradine and Sister Helen Prejean; taste-tested caffeinated beer; worked as an extra on a Merchant-Ivory film; walked across Scotland; and embarked on a quest for the perfect French fry.