Celebrating the Halfway Point, but then…

The beginning of summer makes me nostalgic and reflective. Maybe it's because my birthday falls near the beginning of the season, or maybe it's because I am a teacher, meaning I've always--aside from a few quick years spent in the real world while I finished graduate school--associated summer with endings. The end of the school… Continue reading Celebrating the Halfway Point, but then…


Chrysalis, Listening

Ever since I picked up To Pimp a Butterfly three days ago, I can't stop thinking about anything else. I've listened to it at least ten times and it holds up to all of the praise and talk it's generated so far. It's been hailed as  for-real black music, the blackness of which is beautifully, achingly… Continue reading Chrysalis, Listening


Who’d’ve Thought?

The other day I finally sat down with the intention of getting organized. It has been more than a month since I last worked with my novel, yet during that time I have been endlessly thinking about where I had last left off. I was in the midst of a chase scene in Chapter 3, and… Continue reading Who’d’ve Thought?


When You Come Back

There is nothing like the practical concerns of daily life to interfere with your writing process. A while back I wrote about Poets and Writers magazine and how much I love their hopeful, inspiring stories about overcoming obstacles and finding success in writing, whatever form that success might take. The legendary writers who wrestle time away from… Continue reading When You Come Back


Finishing Move

I stumbled upon this earlier today. A student in one of my classes used Mortal Kombat as one of several examples of how shock sells, the others being 50 Shades of Grey and Miley Cyrus. The discussion began with a video clip of John Waters talking about his artistic principles, which he claims he arrived at… Continue reading Finishing Move


Literary Resolutions

To move is to realize how quietly my wife and I accumulate things. A bedframe, a new book, a movie, clothes, chairs, mugs. Things pile up, and we thin them out, getting rid of what we think we no longer need. The rare person gets so disgusted with the objects she's attached herself to that she sells… Continue reading Literary Resolutions


Necessary Halves

Observing the writing mind at work is sometimes humbling, often embarrassing.  My creative persona sits at his desk crafting sentences that will be quoted for decades, if not centuries, to come. At dinner parties, at the beginnings of great speeches, his words--the ones he's putting down right at that very moment--will be the measure of a man's learning, and… Continue reading Necessary Halves



A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a copy of Ranier Werner Fassbinder's "Despair" at my library. The cover caught my eye, and the jacket sold me: an adapted early Nabokov novel about a chocolatier who goes mad. All I knew of Fassbinder was the title of one of his movies ("Ali: Fear Eats the… Continue reading Adapting