Articles, Thoughts & Tips


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One of the great pleasures of teaching storytelling courses at universities is the rolling revelation of new ideas and insights about the art of story and the craft of story research.  I’m grateful to my students for the opportunity to learn as much from them as they’ve learned from me. For some of the insights and exercises gathered through the years, visit my Storytelling Workshop site at



Looking for the fast track to creativity? Try slowing down. This essay from Vegas Seven magazine offers thoughts on close observation, prioritization and the writerly art of unpacking.



Storytelling is the art of helping others see what you see. In this post we look into what it takes to be an extraordinary helper.


Art for for Breaking Stuff and Making Stuff-6-24-15-The Search for Inspiration, USA

Sometimes we dream that our creativity will awaken as soon as we find that elusive perfect place where we can be who we are—and be inspired to be more. But is the search for such a place sometimes a red herring, a way to avoid the hard work of becoming more right here, right now? Let me tell you a story … 



In the Great American Service Economy, our daily lives often take on the texture of our commercial interactions. Sometimes that texture is pretty rough. In this essay, Talk to Me”, from Vegas Seven magazine, I find my way through another adventurous day in the republic of non-communicative communication.



As storytellers, we transform life into narrative, mining the small moments and the big, the ugly and the beautiful, the things we want to remember and the stuff most people would rather forget. Stories unmask the connections between these seeming opposites, and show how the distant poles of our experience so often depend on one another. For the writer, the storytelling process itself has a way of metabolizing one sensation and transforming it into something quite different. In this column from Vegas Seven magazine, I discuss the ways in which happiness is the by-product of the artful use of sadness.

CityCenter Window


We all rush through our days—sometimes it seems like a non-negotiable requirement of modern life. But sometimes, even when the bargaining partner across the table is time itself, you’ve got to negotiate a better deal. And here’s the good news: When you make the effort to look closer, time itself has a way of slowing down for you, like a speeding baseball in the eyes of a great hitter. In this essay, “The Morality of Slow,” I touch on the small joys and big creative dividends that can come from taking that extra beat.

flyingdogs26web-250x300THE WILD-BLUE CLASSROOM

When we prepare our kids for the world, we have to learn not to exclude the world, in all its bewildering openness, from the conversation. After all, you never know what it might have to say. So it’s somehow fitting that when I sat down to write this essay, “What I Learned,” about the age of standardized testing, I wandered off target and wound up musing on my own dreamier days in a classroom without end.

The Baseball Workout


Anyone who’s played the supposedly pastoral game of baseball knows that—as with all things pastoral—its beauties come from hard knocks, hard work and lots of patience. But that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. As fans, we’re smart enough to understand that the game’s loveliness and its sometimes brutal difficulty are not at all contradictory; we say the players “make it look easy” because we know it’s so hard. We’re aware of the story without excessive commentary; we sense it in the quiet spots between pitches, in the way a batter digs in at the plate. Baseball announcers used to simply describe the action, or even let the action speak for itself. But now, they increasingly—some might say obsessively—analyze the action, telling us how to see what we see. Editorializing replaces storytelling; the active step of seeing is replaced by the passive act of being told.  In this article, “At the Ballpark, Live for Today,” I discuss the creative value of sight and storytelling, and what we might lose as it is replaced in our culture by intensive analysis.

LV Downtown Sketchers-The Construction of CreativityENGAGEMENT, RISK AND FELLOWSHIP

Of all of the creatives plying their trade out in the workaday world, few face as bewildering an array of financial, bureaucratic and client demands as architects. And yet still they regularly produce built environments that bring joy and beauty to our lives. In this essay, “The Construction of Creativity,” I parse the fundamentals by which some of the finest architects in Las Vegas, Nevada, have kept their creative edge in the face of adversity.

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