Writing in the Dark

The 1999 movie Instinct features a metaphorical scene for writers. Dr. Powell is an anthropologist imprisoned for murdering men who have killed the band of gorillas he was studying. A young psychiatrist, Dr. Theo Calder, is studying Powell, hoping to find a way to free him. In the scene relevant to us, Calder tries to prevent Powell from ending a session early. Calder claims he’s the one in charge. He will decide when it’s over.  Powell deftly locks him into a life-and-death grip, demonstrating that Continue reading →

How to get Readers to Pay You to Edit Your Manuscript

One of the hardest parts of the writing process is getting honest feedback. Close friends and family think nothing of lying in order to spare your feelings about as little as a poem. So they’ll sooner tell you that your baby is ugly than that they didn’t like the manuscript you’ve agonized over for two years. “Like most writers, when I’m done with a book, I’m never sure if it’s any good, says Palo Alto-based novelist Keith Raffel. “I am definitely not my own best Continue reading →

Writers & Depression: Battling the Holiday Blues

With the holidays here also arrives an increase in depression for many people. Writers? Depressed? We’ve all heard about it.  Creative genius and depression seem to go hand in hand with many. I know. I suffered depression for many years. And the holidays come with their own heavy, gray veil to be pushed aside. And we know them. Writers who committed suicide. Sylvia Plath. Virginia Woolf. Anne Sexton. Hunter S. Thompson. Ernest Hemingway. Why? In the case of Hemingway four other immediate family members also Continue reading →

Who Knew…?

Once upon a lo-o-ong time ago, in my twenties, I read – and savored – Ben Hecht’s wonderful autobiography, A CHILD OF THE CENTURY. A witty, touching, chronicle of the exciting life he’d led as a journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter, I envied him not so much for his adventures as for the marvelous, colorful people he’d known and written about so beautifully. I found myself wishing that I had friends/acquaintances as intriguing as Carl Sandburg, Charlie MacArthur, John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, H.L. Mencken, and Continue reading →