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Christopher Meeks's Blog

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Sunrise as seen from the Zane Grey Hotel in Catalina
  Here is an eclectic gathering of some small literary items and news that I've come across recently on the Internet, much of it thanks to Facebook: There's an interesting debate going on about the New York Times Book Review. Best-selling authors Jennifer Weiner (Fly Away Home) and Jodi Picoult (...
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Food is on my mind. That’s because I teach College English. In searching for ways to get the class of 2014 interested in essays and stories, I’m trying a single theme for this semester, that of “Food.” We’ll be reading three books, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, The Year of the Flood...
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Color Tile
There is one person that most of us have—a boss—and as I’ve heard from close friends recently, most of those bosses are just not great. These bosses do not fire up the workplace or make anyone feel secure. They’re not empathetic or willing to fight for them or clever in how to raise morale. They...
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Elena Kagan has yet to decide on her top 15 overrated authors
There's a recent Huffington Post article by Anis Shivani on the most overrated contemporary American writers. Such an article, of course, is almost compulsory to look at in the way a burning wreck on the side of a highway is. See what favorite writers of yours gets skewered. Shivani’s list includes...
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Our Food to Be
I didn't start teaching College English as a profession until my late thirties because I'd been a full-time journalist and a creative writer. I'd also been deathly afraid of speaking in public. I overcame that fear--among other fears. I’ve come to see the subject of English as combining nearly...
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Writing recently about attending Aimee Bender’s reading made me reflect on my own readings and how I approach them. Before I started teaching, I was deathly afraid of public speaking. In grad school, when I’d have to give a presentation to my class of just eight people—people I liked and could...
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Aimee Bender at Vroman's Bookstore
A reading is a special kind of entertainment. Over the last decade, I’ve landed at perhaps a dozen stand-alone readings, and many times that in catching authors at various panels, including those at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books each April. My trips to readings have been well-selected,...
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I just finished reading Margaret Atwood’s new novel, The Year of the Flood, and I’ll gush about it. When I started the book, I hadn’t realized it related to her earlier novel of dystopia, Oryx and Crake. While I’m a fan of her novels and poetry, the opening of Oryx and Crake did not grab me, and at...
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The Firefly Bistro
  As I struggle with restructuring my novel in ways both productive and difficult--my most Herculean writing task to date--Spring calls out to me like never before. This last week, I created a whole new garden with rich black earth, then troweled holes for tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and...
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My infected bicuspid, far right, with its crown
A lancing, jaw-cracking lightning bolt of pain awoke me. From contented sleep to eyes wide open, I gritted my teeth--what the hell was happening? With the intense epicenter in my lower jaw, I knew it was my bicuspid, tooth #29. My dentist, Dr. Mark Tarica, a brilliant and caring dentist, had put a...
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Structure is needed in storytelling
Up-and-coming writers want to hear how down the line things will get easier. Heck, I want to hear that. Thus, when I sent my current novel-in-progress, Ten Days to a Bad Habit, to my agent Jim McCarthy in New York, I wanted to hear how my first mystery was an amazing delight, staying true to the...
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Caroline Leavitt
Caroline Leavitt, author of nine novels and book reviewer for People Magazine and The Boston Globe, happens to have an incredible blog, CarolineLeavittville, where she reviews and writes about writing. She’s also a friend, so I wrote her suggesting that she write about structure—mainly because that...
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Last night about 11:15 p.m., I happened to go to my Red Room home page and saw that I’d reached a landmark 50,000 views. Even though that’s in just more than a year and a half, that’s pleasing.  First to you, dear reader, thank you for coming here. Second, I’m still trying to wrap my head around...
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I happen to teach a fiction class at UCLA Extension called "The Writer's Workout," where over a mere eight weeks, I hope to start people into a habit. People take classes in UCLA Extension's Writing Program because they've been harboring a desire to write, often for years, and are finally...
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Noomi Rapace as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I’ve been feeling like Woody Allen in one of his early movies where he’s sitting among dour people on a stopped train, and he looks over and sees another train with happy, laughing people. For me, the other train is filled with people reading and loving the book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by...
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