Why getting over yourself might be the handiest tool in your writer’s kit

Photo by Adil from Pexels

May I make a confession? When I first started submitting to literary journals, I had this expectation, and…oh lord, this is going to be hard.

I guess I sort of thought there would be an outpouring of enthusiasm and acceptance soon after I hit the “Submit” button. There was even this one time, early on I think, when I kind of expected phone calls congratulating me for what I had achieved? Like, possibly, I kind of remember thinking that one day when the phone rang?

Oh hahahahaha! Can you even imagine?

As I’m sure you can guess, I was quickly…


And what happens when writing is her life’s work, as well as her day job

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Many writers used to, probably still do, have day jobs. Not just jobs they took to pay the bills while they were writing, but actual, meaningful “job-jobs” which they invested in and performed to the best of their abilities…while also writing wonderful things.

Chekhov was a doctor. So were Arthur Conan Doyle and William Carlos Williams and Abraham Verghese. Wallace Stevens and the under-rated Louis Auchincloss were lawyers. Flann O’Brien, my writing idol, was an Irish civil servant. Elizabeth Acevedo, Roddy Doyle and Phillip Pullman were teachers. Rene Denfeld was an investigator and child advocate.


Michael Collins and why he matters to readers and writers

(Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash)

The third guy died last month. He was 90.

In 1969, he went to the moon, but while Armstrong and Aldrin bounced across the surface, he piloted the craft, orbiting alone, dogged by the possibility that his crewmates might not return to command module Columbia, or go home with him. He was the third of the first, the one you hear the least about. But he was taking notes.

Michael Collins was unusual among astronauts, a liberal arts guy who was drawn to Chinese history and novels at West Point instead of science. …


Are we loving the western wild to death?

(Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash)

My grandparents lived in a beautiful two-story house in a populous San Diego neighborhood. One day, while they were both away from the house, a fire ignited in the gas line causing the stove to blow. By the time they returned, the house had burned to the ground. They lost almost everything they had.

They came to live with my family while they were rebuilding their home, and though I was too young to remember the conversations my parents and grandparents had during this time, I know one thing: They were about fire.

By the time I was six, when…


Maya Angelou addresses the convention on July 27, 2004. Photo by Author.

A former delegate says…pretty much everything

by Heather Pegas

“The Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee will host presumptive nominee Joe Biden, but delegates are encouraged not to attend in person as the party tries to manage holding its marquee event during the coronavirus pandemic.” Politico, June 24, 2020

When I hear that the 2020 Democratic National Convention, scheduled for August, will occur remotely and virtually in lieu of the party faithful heading for Milwaukee, I am of two minds.

My first mind, rational and thrifty, holds that a physical convention is unnecessary, wasteful and tone-deaf given the disarray and suffering…


Is your state on fire? Mine is.

Beckwourth Complex, Dexter and Dixie. In Oregon, Bootleg and Elbow Creek. In Idaho, Snake River Complex. Arizona? Tiger and Bear. Even temperate Canada is in on it.

Throughout the west, you feel worry in the air — and smell smoke. The question on everyone’s lips: What can we do?

They said last year was the worst, but now every year is the worst, as climate scientists have long been promising.

We’re conserving every drop of water. Driving less. There are prescribed burns. Vegetation clearance. Incentives to build outside of fire-prone zones. …

Heather Pegas

Accidental essayist, in Slag Glass City, The Coil, Brevity blog, elsewhere.

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