Here is a video to accompany “The Floating Life” by Sarah Cornwell.


Blog lexsterling’s post on Lisa Couturier’s nonfiction piece “Dark Horse” is professional and personal. It’s clear that lexsterling read Couturier’s piece carefully and spent time thinking about the issues it raised — and then lexsterling responded to what those issues meant on a personal level.

Pushcart author Lisa Courturier found lexsterling’s post on the Internet and responded the issues lexsterling raised. She also thanked lexsterling for “continuing the discussion.”

Maybe that’s the way to describe what you’re trying to do in your blog posts: you’re trying to continue the discussion that an author begins whenever he or she writes something and allows that piece to go out into the world.

Being professional doesn’t mean you can’t also be personal. You can write about the specific issues a poem, story or essay raised for you intellectually and emotionally — you just have to express your responses in a thoughtful manner that’s suitable for a public audience.

Literary Magazines

If you haven’t already found the literary magazine Narrative on your travels on the Internet, here is a link for the site. They have a wide variety on content available. For instance, you can read a story by James Joyce, along with a “retelling” by author William Trevor. The site allows you read a little of a work, but if you want to read an entire piece, you need to sign up with an email address. It is free to sign up.

Right now, Narrative is also featuring a story by Nickolas Butler. Butler had a story nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a recent University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad.

If you are looking for other online literary magazines to discover, please revisit this post.

photo-fullMusician Leyla McCalla has a project on Kickstarter.  She’s looking for help to produce Vari-Colored Songs, “an album of songs written to Langston Hughes’ poetry, Haitian folk songs and original compositions.” Click here for a link to her Kickstarter project.

If you want to hear more of Leyla McCalla’s music, click here. You can hear all of her song “Heart of Gold,” which is based on the poem “Vari-Colored Song” by Langston Hughes. Here is the poem:
Vari-Colored Song
If I had a heart of gold,
As have some folks I know,
I’d up and sell my heart of gold
And head North with the dough.
But I don’t have a heart of gold,
My heart’s not even lead.
It’s made of plain old Georgia clay.
That’s why my heart is red.
I wonder why red clay’s so red
And Georgia skies so blue.
I wonder why it’s yes to me,
But yes, sir, sir, to you.
I wonder why the sky’s so blue
And why the clay’s so red;
Why down South is always down,
And never up instead.
     –Langston Hughes

What’s wrong here?

I grew up in the seventies.

When I was sixteen and waiting tables at the restaurant in my hometown, I’d often pop some of my tip money into the jukebox and play music to keep me company on my shifts.  I usually listened to music by The Cars or David Bowie (even Cheap Trick), but the restaurant didn’t have much of that kind of music on hand. So I had to make do.

Here is one of the songs I sometimes listened to as I refilled the ketchup bottles:

Tanya Tucker:

If you can’t quite get your head around that, maybe you want to give a listen to  Johnny Cash singing the same song:

It’s 2012 and I still love “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)” — and it’s still wrong. Do you know why?

In truth, I don’t think Tanya or Johnny can do anything wrong, but I think you know what I’m getting at.

A large American toad from my garden

Ok, it’s time to teach yourself the rules about commas and correctly using lay/lie.

Please go to the following pages at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) for information and practice.

There are many wonderful resources out there, but you have to take the time to use them!  Here’s a great web page on lay / lie.  It even includes tests!