Mojo Monday: Don’t Be Afraid to Go Against Your Nature

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.

Meet Rabbit.

Meet Rabbit who believes she is a sheepdog.

Meet Rabbit who commands these sheep with a deft ear.

Meet Rabbit who defies her nature and excels.

Meet Rabbit. Sheepdog of all sheepdogs.


Fear not!

Go forth!

Defy thy nature!

Herd them sheep!


Image: artemisphoto /



Expat Sat: Writing Prompt: There’s Nothing To Write About??!!

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.

Earlier this week a writer said to me, “But there’s nothing to write about.”


Holy crap-a-majoli! Nothing to write about? Nothing to write about?

(short pause, while I sit down and breathe)


To help this writer and any others who have come to this desperate state, here’s a writing prompt to prove that no matter who or where you are, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT!

Now…get to work.

STEP 1: Go outside and hunker down on a corner. (Yes, I know “corner” will mean something different to each of you. If you’re in a cabin in the woods, go to a bend in a path or a river or a creek. If you’re in Mumbai, go to a nearby intersection. You know what I mean…)

STEP 2: Wait for something to happen. (drums fingers on knee)

STEP 3: While you wait, see what takes your attention. (Who’s pulling their gutchies out of their crack? Who’s smooching on the corner? What is that smell?! Have you ever, ever seen that shade of green before? How would you describe that old woman’s limp? And so on…)

STEP 4: When something happens (AND IT WILL!), go somewhere and write. Get it all down. The whole hot sticky spilling-over-the-sides mess of it.

STEP 5: When you’re done, post a few lines of your piece in the Comments section below. I want to see what’s happening around the world.


P.S. I know, I know, a few weeks ago I made a big promise. I sent out a “Save the Date” for today. Ugh! My apologies for postponing. But stay tuned. It’s a’coming.


Image: sakhorn38 /

Writerhead Wednesday: Andrea Barrett in Writerhead

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author talks about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.

A few months ago while teaching a personal essay writing workshop, I happened upon an essay called “The Sea of Information”* by Andrea Barrett in which she documents her ascent (descent?) into writerhead. She’s looking through a handbook called What You Should Know About TUBERCULOSIS that was passed out to high school students in New York City between 1910 and 1920. The handbook is full of photographs of children deformed by tuberculosis and young people “taking the cure,” a drawing of a Tuberculosis Tree, a map marking the cases of tuberculosis in a particular New York neighborhood, and condescending passages that describe tuberculosis as a “disease of the poor–of those on or below the poverty line.”

The tuberculosis handbook goes on to say: “We must further realize that there are two sorts of poor people–not only those financially handicapped and so unable to control their environment, but those who are mentally and morally poor, and lack intelligence, will power, and self-control….”

After describing the handbook in detail, Andrea Barrett shares the way her experience with this handbook prods her into writerhead. (No, she doesn’t call it writerhead, but that’s what it is.) Listen…

“The sound of that language–the officious, pushy, condescending sound of that–along with the eerie photographs and the remarkable drawing of the Tuberculosis Tree, made me want to write a novel. The feeling was as sudden, as intense, and as irrational as falling in love.”

And there she was. In writerhead. A feeling that was “as sudden, as intense, and as irrational as falling in love.”

Love it.


* “The Sea of Information” (which I read in The Best American Essays 2005, p. 10) was originally published in The Kenyon Review (Summer 2004).

Image: Sura Nualpradid /