David Donavel ~

Writer, Teacher, Blogger...

Out of Body

My funny wife uses a term, “out of body,” which refers to that immense quantity of movies and stories that involve visits from beyond the grave, time travel, vampires, ghosts, mind-readers, talking animals. The list goes on. Because she is more discriminating and...

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Book Report

The story I’m working on is stubborn. I’m almost at the forty thousand word mark and I still don’t know what the thing is about. What’s more, I don’t know what that means. One possibility is that it will turn out to be a very long book, something that will try the...

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The Old Animal

In his darkly humorous moments my father put forth the notion that human beings amounted to little more than an elaborate alimentary canal. Our task, he maintained, was to worm our way though an embarrassing quantity of food until we, in turn, became food for worms....

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Play

Hanging in our kitchen are two prints by Jack Vettriano. They are well known. In one, an elegantly dressed couple is dancing on sand flats near the ocean. In attendance are two others, perhaps a butler and a maid each holding dark umbrellas against the evening wind...

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A Narrow Road

In his short book, The Educated Imagination, Northrup Frye lucidly offers some ideas about what literature is (and is not) and what uses we might make of it. It is an interesting project not because stories are likely to vanish from our culture, but because it is not...

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Keys

In response to a study that suggested that reading literary fiction might improve one’s social skills, novelist Louise Erdrich said, “Writers are often lonely obsessives, especially the literary ones. It’s nice to be told what we write is of social value.” However, I...

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Celebrity

Every so often, someone sponsors a fund raiser that involves spending time with local athletes. We’re invited to buy a chance and if we win we get to have lunch and a game of golf, for example, with, say, Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox second baseman. The television...

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The Freedom of the Argyle

“I know a woman who compared writing a novel to knitting an argyle sock the size of a football field. I think that is very apt. It’s just such a struggle to shape it all up.” That quote from novelist Sue Miller is both amusing and correct. It is indeed a struggle to...

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Mexico

When it comes to real life events, I have shabby memory. My wife tells me it’s selective, which is her way of being kind. I have friends who seem to recall every day of their lives and when they are recounting stories in which I played a part I cannot remember, I feel...

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Writer’s Block

Years ago at the high school where I used to teach we had the chance to invite a working writer to visit and speak with some of our students. So long ago was this that I don’t recall what sort of things he wrote or where they were published. He was trim and fair and...

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