Thursday, March 5, 2015

Writing About A New Place

Travel contains complex pitfalls and challenges for a writer. It has been said that a writer needs to have a deep sense of place in order to write well about it. Louise Erdrich, Richard Ford, and John Updike are just a few examples that come to mind It can take many years to understand a place well enough to write convincingly about.  When you visit a new place you usually don’t have that much time. Still, it’s easy to get seduced by this exotic new land full of strange new foods, customs, and peculiarities. When this happens there’s a danger of losing your voice and becoming a touristy write
But it must be said that when you visit a new place you experience it with fresh sensibilities. When I first came to Thailand I was amazed to see entire families on motor scooters. Sometimes I’d see a father, young child, baby, and mother at the rear. JoAnn and I playfully dubbed these “four-tops” and were delighted whenever we saw one. But after being in Chiang Mai for three weeks I noticed that my amazement at this phenomenon began to fade. A whole family on a motor scooter? Oh yeah, that's pretty cool. I started taking it for granted. I wonder if there’s a way to reconcile these two dichotomies—exotic newness with deep knowledge?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Birds in Thailand

I'm in Thailand, and have had a blast photographing various native birds. I love the white-throated kingfishers. If I were a bird I can't think of anything I'd rather be.

Friday, May 16, 2014

In this video clip, I talk about an important discovery I made while writing
my YA novel Also Known As Rowan Pohi:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writing Habits

What are some helpful habits I’ve developed as a writer?
Check out this short video clip:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How do writers find our material?
Check out this two-minute video clip
where I talk about where I find my

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where Can You Find A New Nose?

Where Can You Find A New Nose?

                                                  by Ralph Fletcher

If you want a new mouth
Check the mouth of a cave.

If you want some new curls
Check the curl of a wave.

If you’re looking for hands
Try the hands of a watch.

But where can you find a new nose, a new nose?
Who knows where to find a new nose?

Do you need a fresh face?
Try the front of a clock.

Would you like a new lip?
Try the top of a cup.

There’s a nice soft shoulder
On the edge of the road.

But where can you find a new nose, a new nose?
Who knows where to find a new nose?

You can find a new tongue
Tucked inside your shoe.

You will find extra teeth
On the next saw you use.

There are plenty of ears
In a tall field of corn.

But where can you find a new nose, a new nose?
Who knows where to find a new nose?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones

Dad skips breakfast
Elizabeth skips rope
I skip stones

George skipped fourth grade
Brian skipped out of school
I skip stones

Flat stones sharp stones
Skinny as potato chips

          ing            wrin
Kick           up                   kles

          the                   smooooooth
on              glass                                  lake

                                      from Water Planet