sally mann |

Review of Sally Mann’s memoir Thanks to Maggie Galehouse for publishing this review in last Sunday’s Houston Chronicle: ‘Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs’ By Sally Mann. Little, Brown and Company, 496 pp., $32. Photographer Sally Mann is a Southern artist. Not because she was born in Lexington, Virginia, in a hospital converted from the home of Stonewall Jackson, but […]

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georgia o'keeffe |

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Door

additional hints In honor of Women’s History Month, my essay on Georgia O’Keeffe published this month in Houston Woman Magazine. Enjoy! What was there to love about the abandoned house perched over route 84, north of Santa Fe by 53 miles? Its adobe walls were cracked and crumbling, the beams fallen, the doors dangling. Much of the […]

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Wolf Hall |

“Wolf Hall”: the imagination of empathy

click Hilary Mantel took on a most difficult writerly challenge with her historical fiction: she must cleave to the historical record (as far as that goes) and at the same time she is burdened to make that record breathe as vividly as the bravest fiction. I’ve been reading my 50 pages a morning in order to […]

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Critical Gestures |

Why I hate writing in narrative

Last night I attended a creative writing prompt group, for the first time ever, via It was my one-writerly-activity-for-the-week, a variation on Julia Cameron’s weekly artist’s date. I was astonished, just astonished, did I say astonished?, how the storytelling just flowed out of my companions. My first prompt response was okay, the second dreadful, […]

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ElizabethHardwick |

Elizabeth Hardwick on “imaginative concentration”

Well, it’s Monday, and if I can trust the insight of Elizabeth Hardwick — and I do — I may have something worthwhile by Friday . . . “Interviewer: Can you always arrive at the tone you want? Hardwick:  No, I can’t, and when that happens I put the work aside. But I’ve noticed that […]

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joyce carol oates |

Joyce Carol Oates: the fact of time passing

Shouldn’t I be spending every available waking moment at the screen, or on the page, writing? I despair, and the word is not too severe, at the amount of time I waste. This morning I came across this bit of writerly self-revelation from Joyce Carol Oates, likely the world’s most prolific writer, in The Writer’s […]

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Margaret Fuller |

Book review: Margaret Fuller, a woman’s life

Recently published in Houston Woman magazine: a review essay of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). It’s hard to imagine the depths of Margaret Fuller’s despair as she came of age, an intellectual prodigy in the early nineteenth century, expected to achieve nothing more […]

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Gloria Steinem and Susan Post |

BookWoman: one of last feminist bookstores standing

In 1995, the signing party for my first book, Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America, was held at BookWoman bookstore, back when it was at 12th and Lamar, near the crystal shop. A dozen years later, when owner Susan Post kindly hosted the book signing for Clarity: How to Accomplish What Matters Most, the […]

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