What is “Writing”?

originally posted April 13, 2007
no revisions to date

One of my newer tutoring pupils asked during his first session, “What is writing? Isn’t it just, well—writing? Isn’t it simply putting words on paper?”

Well . . . no, I answered, stalling to collect some thoughts. What about words that are published online, I asked,  … continue reading

Dear FutureMe:

originally posted March 31, 2007
May 2021: reformatted; revised text as noted

A not-well-heard-of website came to my attention today, thanks to this story on National Public Radio. The site, FutureMe.org, is intended to enable a person to write and e-mail a message that will be delivered anytime between thirty days from the time  … continue reading

The Ultimate Gift movie and “ethical wills”

originally posted March 31, 2007
May 2021: reformatted; link updated; revised text as noted

As a member of the Association of Personal Historians, I got invited to a preview screening of  The Ultimate Gift  last fall. The movie has now been released and is causing a resurgence in discussions over “ethical wills”  (which are also  … continue reading

Is Octavian Nothing evidence of a new age in YA lit?

originally posted March 9, 2007
May 2021: reformatted; some links adjusted; some text adjusted and revised; update added

M. T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party, which won the 2006 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (presented by the National Book Foundation) last  … continue reading