03 Jan 2017

Why Watership Down belongs alongside Narnia and Middle-Earth

Among the many artists we lost in 2016, the one who influenced me the most passed away on Christmas Eve. Without his imagination, I might have lived a very different life.

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18 Aug 2016

You’re invited to write with me…

It’s time. Let me give you some background: I had a remarkable run of years in writing and publishing books — five titles in four years (2007-2011). That was a rush. A privilege. An exhilarating joy, after a decade of hard work on manuscripts that I never thought would be read beyond

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02 Apr 2016

To Read or Not to Read: The Confessions of X

In which Looking Closer launches a new, intermittent series on creative writing and the art of the opening chapter. Writers—take note!

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26 Mar 2016

Who I thanked on my MFA graduation day

One week ago today — Saturday, March 19, 2016, at Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island — I was invited to the podium before my special guests, as well as the students, faculty, and staff of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA in Creative Writing. This was the moment: I would

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03 Mar 2016

Is there a better review of Raiders on the Internet?

C.S. Lewis once said, “An unliterary man may be defined as one who reads books once only.” Ah, but there are so many books! How does one decide which volumes to read a second time? Lewis’s line might be revised to apply to moviegoers: Those who truly love cinema know that

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26 Jan 2016

Once in a while…

I’m coming up on the tenth anniversaries of my first two published books. The arrival of Auralia’s Colors was a great thrill, a dream come true, a privilege — all the clichés. To see some of my work published and set out on tables in Barnes and Noble… I couldn’t believe

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14 Jan 2016

75 Masterpieces

This week has been one marred by the loss of masters — C.D. Wright, David Bowie, Alan Rickman — artists whose work will be meaningful for many generations to come. We don’t remember them for the originality of their “messages” or “themes” — although they explored questions and experiences that

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01 Jan 2016

Looking Closer’s New Year’s Party

Start your 2016 with some inspiration. Turn to the Specialists. This website is brought to you by generous contributors who help cover the costs of its design, production, and resources. I call them the Looking Closer Specialists. We have our own private Facebook group where they influence my vision for

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24 Dec 2015

Bret Lott and the Ambition contest winners

It’s Christmas Eve. I feel like handing out some gifts. A few weeks ago, I invited people to send me their lists of films, books, or songs that speak to them about ambition. Then I asked a jury of Looking Closer Specialists to vote on the lists they found to be

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13 Dec 2015

Writers of Ambition: a roundtable interview

This may be a first: I don’t know that I’ve ever interviewed several of my favorite writers at once. But Ambition has made me ambitious. In Ambition, the Chrysostom Society’s latest collaborative book of wisdom and testimony, nine members of the Society — Diane Glancy, Emilie Griffin, Bret Lott, Erin McGraw, Gina Ochsner,

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