High Hopes: is talent finite?

This weekend, I finally listened to High Hopes, the most recent Bruce Springsteen album. Yes, it came out on January 14, and I bought it then, but I hadn’t listened to it. There  were many times when I listened to a new Springsteen album multiple times on its release day, and almost exclusively for days after that. But something’s happened to … Read More

Help fund Tufa Tales: Appalachian Fae

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One of the best perks about being a writer is that you get to meet other artists. Most of them are fellow writers, but I’m lucky enough to also count visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians among my friends. I’ve connected with many of them through art, either theirs or mine, as well as through social gatherings like conventions and workshops. … Read More

Book Review: Belushi a Biography

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A lot of people probably don’t remember John Belushi, but he accomplished the rare trifecta of simultaneously having the number one TV show (“Saturday Night Live”), number one movie (National Lampoon’s Animal House) and number one album (“Briefcase Full of Blues” by the Blues Brothers). He remains a unique figure in American popular culture, both for the way he lived … Read More

Announcing the First Original Tufa Song

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  There might be cooler things in the world than a band you really like, writing brand-new songs based on your novels. But at the moment, I can’t imagine what. Here’s Tuatha Dea premiering their original song, “The Hum and the Shiver.”  

The Only Good Musical is About Actual Musicians

Eddie and the Cruisers, from 1984.

Although music forms a huge part of many of my novels, I don’t, as a rule, like traditional musicals. People bursting into song, unless it’s played for laughs (as in Cannibal: the Musical, an early film by South Park’s creators), overwhelms my suspension of disbelief. Even something as monumentally clever as Little Shop of Horrors stops dead (and never recovers) … Read More

Don’t Get Rock Blocked

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“On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” –Hunter S. Thompson When I was a teenager–and I suspect this is true for most people reading this–music was incredibly important to me.  I didn’t play an instrument, … Read More

Nurturing creativity and doing a job of work

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Last week, stuck for ideas for upcoming blog posts, I put out the call for questions from fans. I got this one from poet Eileen Sullivan: “In what ways do you think you nurtured your creativity as a child, wittingly or not? What remains of that life in your and your work? And in what ways do you seek to … Read More

Book Review: Paperback Writer by Mark Shipper

“Rock and roll is a joke and the joke is on anyone–performer or audience–who ever takes it for any more than that…” (p. 11) Writing about music, as I’ve said before, is tricky. The ones who do it well–P.F. Kluge, Sheila Kay Adams, Lee Smith–take it very seriously. So it follows that writing a parody about music, one that’s simultaneously … Read More

Guest Blog: Jennifer Thomas on Balancing Art and Parenting

Jennifer Thomas is an award-winning pianist, composer and performer. In 2012 alone, she was nominated for thirteen various award, winning five. She is also, like me, the parent of two small boys. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on balancing an artistic career with the demands of parenthood. *** When I was a little girl, I had dreams … Read More