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Author Eric K. Goodman, English professor and director of the creative writing program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His latest novel is Twelfth and Race, published by University of Nebraska Press as part of their Flyover Fiction Series. Many thanks to Elizabeth G., a listener from Michigan, who requested that I interview Eric.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Eric K. Goodman. It's one that he's been using in master classes. He calls it "The Things They Cherish," which has obvious links to a well-known short story and story collection by Tim O'Brien. We all have items we cherish, objects that have almost a talismanic presence in our lives. In Eric's case, it's a serape he's had since he was a teenager, that his parents bought for him in Mexico City. It doesn't matter what it is, so long as it has real meaning. The writing prompt is to describe the object, both physically and how you came by it. Work towards how it helps to define you.

If you are a writer of fiction, give that object to a character so that it helps to define him or her. And try giving it to a character about whom you have moral doubts. It's hard to dismiss a character if that character loves an object that you, the author, also loves.

Good luck with this prompt and tune in next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band that existed briefly in 2008 and 2009, featuring several South Burlington High School students - now grads)

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