Blog 52. Aging in America—a systems question?

Last week, I reviewed Julian Barnes’ story of an aging, retired man named Tony Webster.  Webster lives alone, remembers regrettable events of his youth, suffers remorse when he encounters the living and ghostly persons of his past, and still does not find a way to heal the hurts or to generate meaning in his life.  Perhaps, as his former girlfriend says, he “just doesn’t get it.”

Does today’s youth-oriented culture—a functioning system—regard older people as irrelevant, as those who no longer “get it?”  Continue reading

Blog 27. The Must-Do in Fiction

How do you write fiction?

An artistic woman asked me that question. In part, she was asking about the mechanics of drafting a novel. In part, she was asking how you get past the stinging criticism when someone accomplished in the art reads your first draft. One answer is this: don’t show a first draft. Show an edited manuscript that’s as good as you can make it. Maybe the 21st draft. Continue reading