The Tango Body, for Followers

There are hinges throughout the entire body. Not just the obvious ones—hips, elbows, knees—but the less obvious, too, shoulder blades, the vertebrae of the spinal column that lift and lower our ribs and that turn our upper body counter to our lower body (CBM). In fact, there are hundreds of hinges, named and unnamed. You […]

Reformed Self-Pubber back pedals

Today, I’m overwhelmed by the process and choices of ebook publishing. As book designer Joel Friedlander describes it, the process looks like an “out-of-control spaghetti party.” Doubt creeps in when I look at the number of romance, mystery, thriller, and erotic books on the do-it-yourself site.

My baby is none of the above. It’s literary mainstream. It doesn’t have too many adjectives and adverbs. The F word appears in it exactly 0 times. Hey, I better stop trying NOT to sell my book here. It’s titillating in other ways—ways that complex thinkers, literati, and others in the formerly rarefied air of publishing can appreciate. It’s lonely at the top.

OK, I’m coming back down now.

Memoir: Faithful Narratives are Boring

Nobel-prize winner, Eric Kandel talks about how the time we spend remembering far outweighs the time we spend living. Kandel describes two brains, two bodies—one that experiences and one that remembers. The one that remembers, according to Kandel’s research as I understood it, uses a different clock, one that is what I’ll call qualitative, as opposed to the clocks that measure precise seconds, minutes, hours. So for example: as a child my family spent anywhere between three and five days of each summer down the shore. But Down the Shore dominates the map of my memory, extends and flows over all else that happened during those three humid months. The rest of my childhood summers were spent longing or feeling restless (to escape NJ). Indeed, if I probe and look deeper, I find the other stuff.

What can writers learn from the presidential campaign?

Developing the “narrative,” staying “on message”—these are oft-used phrases in politics and in writing. Just as writers are advised to know their reader, politicians only stay in office if they speak to their constituents’ interests.

Self-Pub Skeptic reforms

After taking Carla King’s Self-Publishing Boot Camp. Her schedule is here, I fell down off my horse. Yes, I’ve been a skeptic for a long time, but I saw the light. If all goes according to plan within a week or so I should have my 2000 novel, The Last Cannoli (currently available only in hard copy) published as an eBook.

Yoga for Tango Dancers

MaryEllen Whitton & Camille Cusumano bring years of experience in yoga to help you get grounded in tango; stay balanced, stay on axis, transfer weight like a butterfly, breathe like a yogi, and find total relaxation in the dance. We’ll limber you up, calm you down, build your confidence. Namaste!

TEDx Does Tango

Many months ago, Todd, a young man from Manhattan called to gauge my interest in being part of a TEDx Talk—The Hero’s Journey (à la Joseph Campbell). He had read my book, Tango, an Argentine Love Story, and thought my tango journey fit the theme.

Memoir Writing/Study Workshop

Let’s look at memoir (creative non-fiction) through the back door deeply.

Memoirist, let the ‘dogs of narcissism’ in

Listening to Terry Gross last night interviewing J.R. Moehringer who is the author of the memoir Tender Bar, I was captured by his phrase—keeping “the dogs of Narcissism” at bay when writing his own memoir. He was explaining that when he ghost wrote the memoir for Andre Agassi he didn’t have that concern. He had […]

Tango, Internet Fraud

This is to alert tango teachers about Internet Fraud – yes, I fell for the scam until the last email below. Duh. The sender, “Jean” professes to be Greek. But when I got the first phone call—no doubt, Jean is a man and Nigerian. The scam’s been reported to the FBI and to another Internet fraud source. Jean still writes me.:

Heresy: Why Outlines are Counter-Productive

You don’t get to the guts of your story or memoir and the reason you think it’s so important to write and share with others by a linear approach to surface events or a timeline. You get to it by (cliche alert:) spilling your guts. You get to your memoir or story through an entry point, by deep resonant honesty that let’s you into your story as a trusted, detached, at times un-sentimental (not disinterested or dis-associated, but detached) observer.

The Art of Writing Memoir

• Does the observer (writer) really alter the outcome? Or does the outcome retroactively alter the observer (writer)?• In the Self-fulfilling-Prophecy dynamic what comes first? The Self or the Prophecy. Or is there a third option, as in Buddhist thought: dependent co-arising (or co-dependent arising)? • As in life, a developed Sense of Time is all-important to writing memoir. Once you tap the archetypal current (time eternal) of your story, you know how/when to dilate or contract Time.

Oregon Coast, Los Angeles Times

Read the original article here. August 26, 2012 FLORENCE, Ore. — My mind drifts back to Ken Kesey’s 1964 novel, “Sometimes a Great Notion,” as my friend Rob and I drive west from Eugene to the Oregon coast along scenic Highway 126. The curling two-lane road sweeps through views of the Cascade Range cloaked in […]

Journaling Jogs Memory

Although I resisted forever turning the practice of keeping a journal into a verb—journaling, for instance—I like the slight alliterative value of the above title. Whether you journal or keep journals, as I have since age 11, they can help you retrieve details that would otherwise fade into the ether and they can unveil the tricks memory plays.

Memoir, a 7-step Formula

One sweeping difference between autobiography and memoir is that the former is often an intriguing record of the journey of the extraordinary person (Shirley MacLane, Barack Obama, Isadora Duncan) and of the ordinary, or commonplace, parts of the life they might have lived, bringing our heroes down to our size. We like to know the human side of our Giants. Conversely, memoir has come to signify the extraordinary life circumstances of us ordinary folk. The skill required to craft that memoir resides in all of us, no matter how commonplace, we think our lives. If you feel you have a story to tell, you do. That’s a start

How to Produce Joy

FREE NOW! A workshop with writer, archetypal psychologist Howard Teich, Ph.D, author of Solar Light, Lunar Light How the myth of Psyche and Eros tells us how to produce joy 1–6 p.m. September 22, 2012 San Francisco Zen Conference Center, 308 Page St. SF, (near Laguna)

Book review: Awakening, Kate Chopin

No one has adequately explained then, why Madame Bovary’s name (which appeared in 1856) rolls off tongues easily today. Not so that of Mrs P, whose disdain for marriage and explicit reluctance to give herself to her children were too close to reality. Some things had best remain in the shadows even in fiction.

Flaubert’s Mme Bovary has adulterous affairs at a level that makes Edna’s discreet dalliance seem negligible (by today’s standards). Although, played out with different details, both adulteresses, ultimately overwhelmed by despair, submit to forms of self destruction.

Book Review: Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick

what I learned from Fierce Attachments. It has much more to do with Gornick the writer than Gornick the daughter. In the following passage, which comes on page 175 near the end of the book, I feel a surge of exaltation. Yes! This narrator triumphs and thrives despite all; how resilient we are, when we find our craft and art.

The Art of Writing Memoir

Workshop series in three consecutive Tuesdays learn: How and why memoir differs from autobiography, How to capture the essence of your personal experience, How to make it captivating to readers, How to shape the elusive narrative arc, How to find and use writing conventions that fit your story & situation, How and when to breakaway from conventions, How to incorporate experimental writing

Fog Catalogue

This is a work in progress and has been approved by the  International Council on Fog Fog is divided into three greater categories according to the  degree of Moisture (wet or dry),  its Source-— from sky, ground, or water—and its Light Content. I MOISTURE CONTENT A. Pluvia: wet fog a. Plumerie: (not to be confused […]