Isadora Duncan |

Honoring Isadora Duncan’s birthday in Houston Woman magazine

A great topic is inexhaustible! Twenty years after publishing my book on Isadora Duncan, I’m still finding fresh ways to write about the dancer’s extraordinary life and art. In honor of Duncan’s birthday, I wrote an essay inquiring into the origins of her grand ambition. Thanks to Houston Woman magazine for publishing it, and I […]

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jill abramson

Op-ed runs in Austin American-Statesman

I was in Madrid when the Jill Abramson story broke. I didn’t intend to write anything about it. What more was there to say? And I just don’t feel like writing against things anymore. (That’s a large part of why I left academia: I wanted to use my critical thinking skills to help build up […]

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Hill Song |

Reading as meditation

I’m not a fiction kind of gal, and never have been. These days when I troll bookstores, I head for the gardening section first, then maybe auto/biography. I picked up Hill Song: A Country Journal (1985, Countryman Press) when I discovered Blue Awning Books about a month ago. (How could I have missed this used […]

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'Dear Wendy Davis' |

Writing is how I think

My latest Huffington Post essay (“Dear Wendy Davis: Please Stop Talking about Your ‘Story’”) began as a Facebook entry. I was composing it in my head in the bathroom, as I was brushing my teeth on a Sunday morning. And then I decided to see, just for the heck of it, how much further could […]

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The Writer's Room Interviews |

What makes a good day’s writing?

As I reclaim my writing life, I’m happily (vicariously) immersing myself into other writer’s lives. For one thing, I’m a subscriber to Australian writer Charlotte Wood’s very excellent “The Writer’s Room Interviews” series. This month’s new interview, with Sydney writer Malcolm Knox, is as thoughtful and stimulating as the rest. I particularly enjoy reading about […]

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Ann Daly, Pittsburgh Press feature writer |

The soul of wit

If I learned about clarity from Mrs. Parker, I learned about brevity several years later while working as a feature writer for The Pittsburgh Press. Daily newspaper journalism was the best possible foundation I could have chosen for each of my careers — as journalist, scholar, and life coach. I remember assigning the same exercise […]

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Susan Sontag |

Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag on art commentary: “The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.”

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treetops |

Naked trees

Spring is late this year, and I’m impatient for any reward (maybe a daffodil, please?) after our unusually cold winter. Just when I’d mastered the art of curating plant material to endure our brutal Austin summers, I have to rethink those choices, such as succulents and cacti, that refuse a real winter. Which reminds me […]

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Remember the purpose of language

Everything I know about writing clearly I learned from Mrs. Parker. When I got to Duquesne University, they placed me in Honor’s English with Mrs. Parker. For our first assignment I pulled out all the stops. The essay was dense with the fancy syntax and thesaurus vocabulary for which I had been rewarded in high […]

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