Posts in On Writing
That time I went to the orchestra and an evil magician showed up

It was a Friday night almost two years ago. I was at the orchestra with my friend Rose, because that's what all the Really Cool People do on Friday nights, and I have always aspired to be a Really Cool Person.

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Writing Responsibly

My friend Chris recently blogged about comments I made at our monthly writer's group, and how vulnerability in a community leads to deeper honesty in writing. I wanted to return the compliment by pointing out how a question he posed at that same writer's group helped me reflect more deeply on the writer's call. My friend asked: What does it mean to create responsibly?

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Sub-Creators Should Be Strange: Tolkien’s Principles of Fantasy #3

Tolkien once attended a New Year’s party dressed as a polar bear. He was not the only ursine guest to crash the event; his friend C.S. Lewis showed up in matching attire. One can imagine a conversation that might have taken place on this occasion between two normally-clad, normally-behaved, normal-minded guests: “Who are those buffoons?”

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Because Eucatastrophe Happens: Tolkien’s Principles of Fantasy #2

This is not about whether all fairy tales should end happily ever after. (Partly because, as J.R.R. Tolkien pointed out, “there is no true end to any fairy tale.”) This is about a distinct, unforgettable, massively powerful human emotion that Tolkien revered so much he invented a new word to adequately describe it.

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In Defense of Escapism: Tolkien’s Principles of Fantasy #1

During college, I spent several hoarse, sweaty summers as a day-camp counselor. One day during counselor training, our supervisors introduced an expert who had devised her own system of classifying personality types. Reading off twelve or so lists of traits, the woman instructed us to move to different sections of the room based on which description most closely matched our own.

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