Portals Writers Conference

art, Christianity, editing, teaching, writing

Have some free time on June 20-23? Join me in Salem for the Portals Writers Conference. I’m teaching workshops in poetry and creative nonfiction, giving a reading, and playing some disc golf. #Portals13

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Writing about the Grand Canyon

editing, writing

I’ve been working on a piece about the Grand Canyon that I’m hoping to finish by year’s end. Here’s an excerpt.

We walk to the rim after breakfast. A handful of us, me the only kid, gather in morning sunlight that takes its sweet time slanting through the juniper branches. The appointed pastor never comes, so a retired minister on vacation takes charge. I sit on the flattest rock I can find, but I constantly shift my skinny body. I draw in the dirt with a small stick. I bow my head and close my eyes when asked and say amen.

I open my eyes and watch the sun flick a switch, turning on the lights inside rocks that used to rest on the bottom of an ocean.

I have to cut this section, probably. We’ll see.

What It Was Like: Bible Class Sex-Ed

Christianity, teaching

My Bible teacher is cool. At least I think he is—I’m not the coolest kid in middle school, so my judgment might be suspect. But I’m not the nerdiest, either, and if I compare Mr. Scott with the rest of my teachers, he comes out near the top. He likes to stand in front of his desk and lean back against it, legs crossed and locked, and smooth his thin tie over and over, pulling it flat and taut against the stomach of his short-sleeved shirt. His shoes have pointed toes, and the thinnest laces I have ever seen…

Continued at Magical Teaching

…you come with empty hands…

art, Christianity, music, writing

Here’s singer-songwriter Bill Mallonee on the artistic process:

now look if you’re gonna come around here
and say those sort of things
you gotta take a few on the chin
yeah you’re talking about sin and redemption
well you better wear your thickest skin
sometimes you can’t please everyone
sometimes you can’t please anyone at all
sew your heart onto your sleeve

If you’re an artist you know what comes next:

and you wait for the ax to fall

Watch him perform the song at the link below. And then go make art.

Bill Mallonee – Skin