You Have What You Need

You Have What You Need

In a perfect world we would each have all the qualifications to do what we aspire to do. But we don’t. “What I had,” as Chandler’s private eye Philip Marlowe put it, “is a coat, a hat, and a gun.” And that’s enough.

The Other Fourth

The Other Fourth

In 1776, we won the freedom to self-govern. The *capacity* to self-govern? That would be a longer-term project.

By the Duck Pond

By the Duck Pond

It’s not just that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s that the first movement, taste, sentence, intentionally or not, stands in a unique position to communicate the whole. People may not judge a book by its cover, but they will get an indelible impression from that opening line.

On Death and Living

On Death and Living

“I HAVE AN UNUSUAL relationship with death.…” So begins a saga, a story of war and training, of death and life, and also by any measure — certainly by word count — the biggest book I’ve ever written.

Puppies and Demons

Puppies and Demons

What I’ve learned about these thoughts is to just sit with them, not try to stop them. Just watch them go by. And not take them seriously.

Getting Better

Getting Better

There’s not a lot of juice in being good. You know where there’s a lot of juice? Finding ways to get better.

Creating a Person

Creating a Person

You and I have a lot more in common than you might think. We are both involved in the same act of magic. We are both conjuring up a fresh new character out of thin air.

Ripples on the Pond

Ripples on the Pond

This morning I woke up with a new novel in my head. Okay, not the whole novel. Just the first paragraph.

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