Mike Cobb

Dancing Characters. My wife and I are huge fans of  CBS Sunday Morning. It’s been our weekly morning ritual for years. I love the variety of stories, ranging from human interest to current events––a refreshing alternative to the barrage of political news invading from all fronts. My love of the show goes all the way back to the days of Charles Kuralt (I know that dates me).

The Sunday before Christmas 2020, a segment aired about Etsy in the time of COVID. One of the artisans featured is a guy named Matthew Cummings, a Knoxville-based glassblowing artist and beer maker.

I was struck by the following quote from Cummings:

“Glass has a ton of personality on its own. It’s not like you’re blowing glass and you’re making it do this thing. It’s a conversation, or a dance, with another material that’s very mindful. I start to make something, and then I’ll let the glass decide where we want to go.”

Why does the quote resonate with me? Because that’s exactly how I feel about the characters in my stories, as exemplified in a recent short piece, I Write in Service to my Characters.


Cummings’ quote is pure delight.


I converse with my characters. I dance with them. And I let them decide where we want to go.


Thank you, Matthew Cummings, for your inspiration.