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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Pursuing Justice launches today

Christianity, reading, writing

Ken Wytsma’s book Pursuing Justice officially launches today, and it’s got a brand-spanking-new trailer to go along with it. Check it out.

Writing Prompt: Everybody was haiku writing…

teaching, writing

This week my poetry class and I are working on haiku. I wrote this one as an experiment:

Persimmons. Only

enough to remember you:

famished until now.

The first letter of every word spells out a message: “poetry fun.” Super-gimmicky, sure, but enjoyable! First one to write an acrostic haiku in the comments wins the honor of being the first person to write an acrostic haiku in the comments.

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

Have a great summer. Stay sweet.

art, reading, teaching, writing

This last week I’ve been working on a three-part series based on yearbook memories from elementary school and junior high. What I’ve found interesting about the process is this:

Yearbooks are a kind of clear fiction we willingly pretend is true.

We all want our yearbooks to be signed—by everyone, by just the right person, by the cool kids—yet we know that what will be written in our yearbooks is, in large part, untrue.

We know this because we write those same untruths in other yearbooks.

There is a cliché we can deploy for every circumstance and level of friendship or enmity, and these are the same clichés we solicit for the pages of our own yearbooks—the same clichés we read and reread over the months and years that follow. (Hopefully not the decades that follow, however. We tend to reserve that timescale of cliché for Facebook posts.)

How many questions have I begged so far? Memory, fiction, truth, suspension of belief and disbelief. Write on.