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Christopher Meeks's Blog

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I tell my writing students to avoid the abstract by not using strings of big words with broad meanings, words such as "happiness, "freedom" and "contentment." There's no imagery there. "Curdled milk," "scratched leather shoes," and "scruffle-haired terrier" bring more to mind. That said, I've been...
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Palin as Doctor.jpg
Part One began when I rushed my wife to the ER at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night. After midnight and a CAT scan, we were still waiting to hear what was wrong. I happen to be reading Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, which is about the death of her daughter Quintana two years after Didion’s husband, John Gregory...
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huntington hospital.jpg
A day can turn like spilling coffee. It’s dry one minute, wet and hot the next. My wife Ann and I were planning to see the play The Vigil at the Mark Taper Forum when two hours before the performance, she said her stomach was suddenly queasy. She didn’t feel sick per se but was worried she’d have...
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Rob Brydon (left) and Steve Coogan in "The Trip"
When my wife and I saw a trailer for the movie The Trip, we each thought it might be something worth seeing. Two English comedians, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, go on a road trip to visit gourmet restaurants in North England for a set of Observer newspaper stories. Along the way, they banter and...
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Taller Cover.jpg
I’m not sure when “genre” became a dirty word in creative writing programs. I certainly didn’t want “genre.” I wanted Art (capital A important.) Every one of my fellow writers down in the trenches of great writing at USC's Master of Professional Writing Program imagined Sales (capital S important...
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I noticed there was a similar title to a blog last week, but I guess good ideas come in waves. The Huffington Post had asked me to write for them, and I gave them this idea before I saw it elsewhere on Red Room (in a couple places that I now look.) I happened to be inspired when I came across a...
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A few years ago, I read a post about short stories and the challenges book groups had to them. Short story collections rarely get discussed in book clubs because as Dawn explained in her above post, how do you discuss not one story but many? Last year, I took this very challenge to my college...
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My first interview I conducted
“You must come to my class,” said the beautiful young woman with the Scandinavian name and face. This was when I was in USC’s MFA professional writing program. “Thomas Thompson is a big-deal writer," she said, "and just because he teaches nonfiction, people are missing a great teacher.” If she...
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AMERICAN AUTHORS AS ARTISTS Last week I heard fabulous story on NPR about American authors. Guy Raz spoke with Alexander Nazaryan about how Americans don't deserve a Nobel Prize in Literature.  While I expected someone in an Andy Rooney voice curmudgeonly calling American authors cry babies,...
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THE 99-CENT EBOOK DILEMMA: ROAD TO SUCCESS OR A SUGGESTION “IT SUCKS”? When Amanda Hocking first made news earlier this year that a 26-year-old out of Austin, Minnesota, could become a millionaire by selling her books for 99 cents on Kindle, anyone with a flicker of a story hammered it out and...
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While I’ve written a lot over the years about my writing process either in commissioned articles or in blogs, I’ve never written about humor. That may be because it’s as mysterious to me as phlogiston was to 17th century scientists who tried to understand fire. Both fire and comedy exist, but HOW...
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Do you remember the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen argues with Diane Keaton in a movie line, and a pedantic man behind them rattles on about Marshall McLuhan? Pissed off, Allen disagrees with the professor and pulls out McLuhan who tells off the professor. (Click here to see the one-minute...
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My grandfather loved Walnettos, which were chewy chocolate caramel squares loaded with walnuts and invented in Minneapolis, where he lived. Then along came Hersheys, and now we have Trader Joe organic dark chocolate with almonds. Things change. In the old days if you were a writer, you had a clear...
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Darcie Chan
After I wrote about the challenges of marketing literary novels (see my previous post here),  I asked if anyone knew of an author writing a literary book that’s done what Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath, and other eBook superstars have done. A reader on Kindleboards told me about Darcie Chan and...
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It started when my agent at the time did not want to send out a manuscript of my short fiction that had been published in literary magazines. I was calling my book The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, to reflect both a sense of humor and literary quality. One magazine editor had already called my...
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