Verbing nouns

Pacific Standard magazine has an article this month about the shrinking number of rural churches in Iowa, and the effect it’s having on the local social fabric. “There is no glue holding these communities together,” says a sociologist from Iowa State University, “and it’s making us forget how to neighbor.” Oof. That’s the first time … More Verbing nouns

Shifting tempo

I’ve been reading Elaine Sciolino’s new book, “The Only Street In Paris.” In addition to giving us a window on the social fabric of a Paris neighborhood, Sciolino offers some very skillful writing. Check out these lines where she’s describing the types of people who populate the street at different hours: By day, the rue … More Shifting tempo

Writing on deadline

Too much advice about writing seems to assume you have an infinite amount of time to get everything done. In real life we usually have to keep an eye the clock, or at least on the calendar. Working on newspapers and magazines, I quickly learned that deadlines are not mere suggestions. The story goes out … More Writing on deadline

How much is 4?

While I’m not a big math person, I like basic math for being unambiguous. In our everyday world, 2 plus 2 is always 4. Even for complex math problems we know there’s still going to be only one right answer. Wouldn’t it be great if writing were like that? In a way, it is. But you … More How much is 4?