A couple of years ago I wrote a Visual Thesaurus column about writing song lyrics, focusing on basics: finding a storyline and a mood that many people can relate to, telling the story with simple words and painting the mood with vivid images, plus, without being vague, leaving plenty of room for romantic mystery.  Continue reading...

Reporting on his investigation of Hillary Clinton's email use, F.B.I. Director James B. Comey mentioned several times that the F.B.I. engaged in up-classifying emails.  Continue reading...

Do you find writing interesting and pleasant — a time filled with self-discovery? Or is it stressful and unpleasant — sort of like a root canal crossed with doing your income taxes?  Continue reading...

All fiction rests on a foundation of fact. Even if an author describes five-headed creatures who live on Planet Zobar and drink purple water, he or she must give readers enough feeling of life for us to imagine the world the words create.  Continue reading...

Have you ever emailed me? If so, you likely received a reply in less than 24 hours. Yet I refuse to let email rule my life. I see email as a wonderfully improbable tool that allows me to communicate quickly and easily in the blink of an eye. Still, the writing of emails is an insidious task that could easily gobble up hours out of every day.  Continue reading...

The language used by the National Pastime is wonderful and strange (and not all food-related) - there are things you can say in baseball that you wouldn't say anywhere anywhere else.  Continue reading...

Captain America: Civil War is a hit film at the early summer box office, having recently surpassed 1 billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales. The film raises a lot of questions. A basic question can be answered well before that having to do with the language of the title: How can a War be Civil?  Continue reading...

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