She needs a man

My wife and I have told this story a gazillion times. But maybe you missed it. It was the fall of 1973. I was working at a social service organization called Everything for Everybody. We accepted donations of all kinds of things that we gave away, we had a soup line every afternoon at 4 …

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He likes my book. He really does

I got an email from my friend Jack Butler, author of Living in Little Rock with Miss Littlerock and other books. Jack was quite the successful writer in the ’80s and ’90s. Little Rock was published by Knopf in 1993. It was such a big deal that Bill Clinton threw a reception for Jack in …

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Really, God?

There are countless arguments for and against the existence of God. One I think about a lot is poop. Yeah, poop. And pee. Really, God? If you’re so all-powerful and all loving, why would you make it so that every single one of us has to poop and pee—every damn day, sometimes many times a …

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I take advice well. … Sometimes

When I see links to advice-to-writers, I usually click on them and at least skim the articles, figuring you can never be too old, too jaded or too full of yourself to learn something new. But most of what I see in such articles is old hat, or it’s advice I’m either too lazy or …

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Grit Lit

Grit Lit is the rebellious stepchild of Southern Gothic. In the ninth grade, Grit Lit took on the entire football team underneath the stadium after practice. At sixteen she got pregnant and dropped out of school. Went back to school as a single parent working nights and weekends and doing her homework in the wee …

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True? Stories

From the fall of ’77 to about 1985, Gabi and I published a weekly newspaper called Persons and then a statewide arts magazine called Mississippi Arts & Letters. For the newspaper, I wrote a weekly column that consisted mostly of family stories—retelling things that happened in my childhood. When we had family gatherings at my …

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Stories

Writers can learn a lot about writing stories by listening to jokes. A good joke well told has all the elements of a good short story. The writer, or teller, introduces the main characters and usually provides information about what kind of people they are with the fewest words possible and then sets up a …

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Welcome!

I’m starting this new blog to be able to post things that might not be appropriate for my other blog, “South Sound Arts Etc.” http://alecclayton.blogspot.com/ So what am I going to post here? I don’t know. Mostly thoughts about the art of writing, my own and other people’s. Maybe excerpts from works in progress. Maybe …

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