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From Author Philip Deal

Every painting takes away and gives. The taking from is always my fault, and should never be blamed on the art I’m trying to make. I curse when my finger drags through chalky black pastel, forcing me to enter the always risky land of “removing.” Each time I find paint smeared on the handle of

Like This When my daughter says Daddy a certain way, as if tiptoeing my name into the ocean to find out how warm I am, I know what’s coming. A game of What if My Name Was? or Can You Do This? No, Not Like That, I said Like This. Whatever she does next, her

  This is a wonderful piece, written by Roger Ebert, film critic, on May 2, 2009.

At times, you must destroy outcome to recharge your commitment to process. Last night I created. This morning I destroyed. I am recharged. So Many Foolish Questions Februrary 12-February 13, 2018  

Myself As Their Father Red dye in our bird bath​, day one. Pine cones planted points up around our patio, day two. My daughter’s tears, my teenage son’s commitment to revenge, unacceptable, but shared. We’ll get them back, I say, feeling first shame, then pride in myself as their father.


SCHPLITZ I see people in galleries who get so mad. Where’s the talent in that? they ask. My 7 year old could paint that. I want to buy them coffee (or a scotch), and point out how lucky they are to have a 7 year old who still can, but I never do, because I

  Friday evening: Wrote poetry Very early Saturday morning: Wrote fiction Saturday morning: Wrote nonfiction Saturday afternoon: Visited two art galleries Sunday: Painted and sketched    

  Face The Final Breath of the World’s Greatest Free Diver, Natalia Molchanova I remember once telling a writer all sorts of things about a story of mine he had just finished reading. His reply? “So what?” With that in mind… Face: Ink and acrylic on board. About the size of an index card, mounted

Found on the ground, then taped to a window and lit by the sun. No special camera, no special lens. Warning! Kids, please try this one at home only without parental supervision.  

I’ve been exploring ways to renew my relationship with boundaries. Here is a new series, called The Art of Energy, that came from that.




It’s easy to be that smug, clever, verbally glib toast of the cocktail party, to drink just the right number of gin fizzes to find just the right combination of words to turn just about anything into a joke. Not so easy to find something sacred in your life, something you respect for the simple

Things matter. Not like people, but they’re still important. A pen that inspires you to write beautiful words because you want to do its form justice, its feel, the way it spreads ink across that particular shade of paper you found after looking for weeks, which you’ve placed on top of that      

We creative types are very good at finding fault in our own work, which really isn’t much of an accomplishment, given the perfection of human  imperfection. Still, we revel in our ability to find fault: “Look! My dream of a perfect painting fell short again.” (Sigh) “My story is… so not as wonderful as I

We have an arrangement in our house. If the door is closed, it means I’m writing but it’s okay to knock if something really urgent comes up. If I’ve also hung the Do Not Disturb sign, better not knock unless your injury is so severe it will be hard to dial 911 by yourself. Here

Children Jobs Lovers Friends Jury Duty Q: What do all of the above have in common? A: They are legitimate challengers for your time, the real people and the real reasons it is sometimes hard to find time to write. But here’s the thing, and there’s really no escaping it: Unless you are an emergency

Your back is against the wall, and that gun is pressed against your head. You have to make a choice – now! Open Door #1 and you’ll enjoy the celebrity of success, the admiration of your peers, perhaps even wealth. The writing you did today – the outcome of your work – will definitely be

Why Pi on a book site? is like asking why a poem instead of a story, a hug instead of a kiss, a boy instead of a girl. Ideas slither into my head when I’m not looking, so I let them out, like air in an over-filled bicycle tire. Here’s one called The Natural Resolution

See if you can answer the following two questions without peeking: 1. What kind of artist was Ansel Adams?                 2. What kind of artist was D.H. Lawrence?                 If you answered 1 – A photographer, and 2 – A novelist,

photo courtesy of photophilde   Eyes closed, then screen dialed to black (yes, you can do that and still write) to turn my mistake monitor off. A strange feeling, this blackness, and at first it is hard to write without seeing words. But it feels good to pay attention to something other than words,

    Here’s a good Forbes article about why we have a hard time being creative, on the job, and personally. But in the end being creative, like everything else, is a choice we make. Decide it’s important to be creative and all these obstacles fall away. Decide you need a really good reason for not

  I’ve already suggested there is exactly one step to writing a novel: Sit in a comfortable chair during a block of time you protect like Fort Knox and write. But we all want to believe – need to believe? – there is a plan we can follow, a series of steps, shortcuts, tips, something

Photo Credit: Jim Larrison @ License: Modifications: Changed shop name to NOVELISTS  at top of photo   I didn’t say a good novel. I just said a novel. A steady string of new titles once a year for the rest of your life. So here you go, the last piece of writing advice

The Zero by Jess Walter My rating: 5 of 5 stars This novel is stunning, as in emotionally and intellectually. If you read this book trying to add plot threads – 1 + 2 = X – you will miss the power and beauty (yes, beauty) of this novel, which is the experience of reading

My writing is always someone else’s reading, which means I need to write with heart, even when I’m being critical. When I remember this, when I get this right, when I write with sympathy in front, people send me messages about what they admire – The chapter in OHM in which Nedd loses his wife in a tragic

I’m here to assert something very simple, but very powerful – That we should each create the world we want to live in, and then have the courage to live in it. What would it take to do that? Each of us would need to do everything in our power to resist branding, to resist typing,

  While living in China, an American English teacher sets out to meet and interview interesting people in real life situations. He gets far more than he bargained for when he meets a free-spirited Chinese woman who is determined to get what she wants – at any cost.   When the two fall in love and begin

What’s the one thing people fear almost as much as being asked Want to see my vacation slideshow? It’s being told that you just got back from [[fill in the name of your country]], and boy do you have some stories to tell! Alright, maybe it’s not that bad, but if you want people to

  See this book on   My Amazing Baby Celebration started as a labor of love – with a birth announcement card to announce the arrival of our new baby girl. Two years later we opened our free card shop to share the more than twenty-five cards we had created to celebrate our daughter’s life. 

See this book on   Wonderful, beautiful, always liberating technology. Or maybe not. Set in California’s Silicon Valley, OHM follows the lives of famous inventors, powerful entrepreneurs, and three ordinary people as they search for meaning in a world of runaway technology and reckless ambition. OHM will have you asking one question over and over again. Did this really

Reading to your baby from an early age, and reading to her often, helps her develop strong language skills. Here are nine tips for making reading to your baby a regular part of your day. Our favorite tip is that parents should make reading fun. According to the article, parents should “be silly, make up nonsense rhymes,

Babies around two or three months of age really want to look at black and white shapes, especially shapes with very distinctive edges. There are some really great books that give your baby lots of these fun shapes to look at. Baby Animals Black and White, by Phyllis Limbacher, is a great example.  Your baby will

If I were going to write a new book, and we all know I might just do that, I think I would call it The Impossible World of J. Edgar Landry.   In that book, I would write about a species of beings who dream and  inspire to be one thing, but who work and scurry

  I have made things by hand, by camera, by word, by song, by piano, and I say all of that to celebrate, to validate a life I have fought for and earned. And as I get close to completing and sharing a novel that will have taken me 25 years to finally complete, it is hard for me to express

See this book on   The Bright Red Book of Happiness shows you how to make yourself happy and stay that way. You’ll also discover the joy of finding green marbles. While reading, you will remember that you already have every tool you need to be happy.   This book will make you laugh, you might


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