I’m teaching again. Since I last taught five years ago, they’ve taken to calling my subject “language arts” instead of English, which is likely more accurate. English in a U.S. school is not the study of the language, nor is it grammar, literature, writing or linguistics. It’s somehow more and less than any one of these.Continue reading… "Rules of Writing"
So much writing doesn’t say what it came to say. So much tries to say more than it was meant to, and sags and splits and spills adjectives and adverbs and unholy descriptive phrases. Or pieces try to cheat, saying less than they need to, and they fail, too.
The fine, hard writing might begin as something dark and rank, but in this bog the bones grow.Continue reading… "Saying What You Mean"
I’m supposed to begin this deftly. Ease into it, the theory goes, because if readers know immediately that my piece is about death or birth or terminal illness, they will disregard it as yet another this-is-my-life-splayed memoir. So I hook them with something else, invite them in with a fascinating and benign anecdote that, later, once they are invested and I have sprung on them the death or birth or terminal illness, will become a clever metaphor for the entire piece.Continue reading… "Into the Land of Wild things"
The first time I met Brian Doyle, he said, “To catch and tell stories: it’s so holy.” I’d heard people call stories many things, but I’d never heard someone call them holy. Never divine or near God.Continue reading… "The Currency of Human Consciousness"
By Jeremiah O’Hagan Co-editor for prose We sat and smoked in the 2 a.m. December cold. It was windy and clear at the edge of Gasworks Park, and across Lake Union’s chop, Seattle blazed, a constellation of lights and lives arranged into a cityscape. High cloud cover glowed silky silver-yellow, the city’s reflection smeared across […]Continue reading… "Words Taking on the World"
Writing is an adventure. We often start out heading in one direction with a piece and, many drafts later, find ourselves moving down another completely undreamed of path. Reading is another kind of adventure. When we begin, we might think we know where the writer is taking us and, again, wonderfully, end up going downContinue reading… "Adventures in Reading and Writing"
We’re literary geeks and love the chance to read almost anything crafted with care. So, in late night sessions, we greedily consume submissions which had voyaged through East Coast sloughs, paddled Pacific bays, and trickled down backwoods Alabama creeks and which came via internet from all over the U.S. and a few other countriesContinue reading… "Why Read a Literary Journal?"
Welcome to the Summer 2011 edition of SHARK REEF, where you’ll visit a wedding party in the Andes; join a group of elderly women in a communal bath in Japan; or watch as a nurse midwife deftly knits Mexico to Seattle and drops more than a few stitches in the process. Consider Hiking Naked. What happens will surprise you.Continue reading… "Intro"
SHARK REEF was launched in June of 2001 to give voice to emerging as well as established writers of the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Now, on the eve of its tenth anniversary and in collaboration with Heron Moon Press, SHARK REEF offers the same opportunity to all serious writers committed to producing original writing of high quality — regardless of where they live.Continue reading… "Still Evolving"
As writers, we are inspired by just about anything under the sun – and moon – because we know our writing will take us places. Often, we don’t know where we’re going when we start but we stay along for the ride, moved to explore new terrain or dig deeply into old places. If we do think we know where we’re going when we begin, it’s not at all unusual to be surprised at where we actually end up.Continue reading… "Writing as Exploration"