Tulips and Sex — Writing as If Everyone I Know Were Dead

Two deep pink tulips bloom at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

Deep pink tulips at their peak — just opening. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I want to write about tulips today. I don’t want to write about sex. The trouble is, for me, writing about tulips means writing about sex: something about their juicy curves brings erotic metaphors to my particular mind.

I thought that once my mother — and father — were no longer alive [Read more...]


Books I Might Read If I Weren’t So Danged Busy Writing My Own

book jackets on a desk include Pastrix, Consider the Birds, Mama's Child, Hidden Lives, The Fourth Gospel,  Photo by BF Newhall

Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

So many books. So little time. And a manuscript deadline looming so near.

Titles at the Top of My Gotta-Read List

Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to the Birds of the Bible, by Debbie Blue, Abingdon, $16.99 paper.

Debbie Blue is a wonderful preacher and spiritual director. She helped me shape the book that’s keeping me from reading hers. Debbie could write about the cracks in the sidewalk and I would find it inspirational. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about – birds. [Read more...]


Writing the Personal Essay — Forget the Good, Go for the Bad and the Ugly

A star magnolia blossom and a bud, Oakland, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

A sure sign that story has potential is that it looks like the buds on our star magnolia tree — rough, prickly and off-putting — until given a chance to blossom. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

When I sit down to write a personal essay or a blog post, I start with a story. I look around in my life for a moment that I can’t let go of. A story that won’t let go of me. Usually it’s something painful or surprising, a prickly story that makes me uncomfortable, sad, worried [Read more...]


The Writing Room: My Book’s Almost Done, Sorta

My computer monitor in action. Photo by Bf Newhall

My computer monitor the day before my mother broke her hip and brought progress on my book to a halt for a year.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My book is close to done. I’ve been working on it for nigh on to 13 years now. Can’t imagine how it will feel to have it  done-ish. [Read more...]


Why I Can’t Write My Memoir — Not the Part About My Mom Anyway

Leg cast for a woman, 92, with broken hip. Photo by BF Newhall

My mother’s leg was stabilized with a temporary cast after she broke her hip. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, May 4, 2010

Well, last week I missed my Friday night 11:59 p.m. deadline for posting on this blog. The reason: My 92-year-old mom is still in a skilled nursing facility recovering from a broken hip. [Read more...]