The Writing Expedition Omnibus Podcast Ep.4 Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook: Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990. ( The Most Beautiful Woman in Town. (

Ignis Fatuus

A story about ghosts and possums. I saw my nephew, Ricky, in the Amvets parking lot on a freezing Saturday in December with a centimeter of slick ice on the blacktop and a fair amount of booze in my veins.  My three friends, Burt, Leo, and Klaus, came out with me to the car, since... Continue Reading →

Consider the Kitten

When I see something ignorant, robotic, and false being held up as brilliant, innovative, and true, I think of how good my life must be.  I tell myself there will always be stupidity and hypocrisy in the world, especially in writing and publishing.  I remind myself that it’s better to feel compassion for people caught... Continue Reading →

The Door at the End of the Runway

To the uninitiated, art exists in a dimension far removed from the practicality of commerce.  It’s regarded primarily as something delightful to be consumed, like discovering a pleasant truffle in the forest.  At best, it’s seen as a clever diversion or as an expression of social idiosyncracies, stereotypes, and moods.  How it arrives and the... Continue Reading →

Don’t Weep for the Oompa Loompas

I loved Roger Ebert’s wit and lack of pretention.  His movie reviews in The Chicago Sun-Times often struck a delicate balance between honesty and generosity.  He had a great sense of film history and he’d contextualize Hollywood stinkers in ways that made them interesting as artifacts of a silly and unforgiving industry. Over time, I... Continue Reading →

I’ve been absent of late . . .

I think Warren Ellis puts it well in "How to Build a Blog Without Social Media": "[My website] has always been subject to pauses and hiatuses, chiefly because my job is writing and in busy periods there hasn’t always been enough writing left in me on a given day to sustain this site."  This is... Continue Reading →

Fiction Writing: the Private Course

Assessing interest: I’m thinking of starting another 5-week fiction writing and publishing tutorial for individual students.  And if I get a lot of interest like last year, I might put together some small group workshops as well.  Over the last 2 years, I’ve taught 12 students.  That’s not a lot when you think of large... Continue Reading →

The Way of All Things

Wherein I give myself a stern talking to . . .  "I'm lost. Life makes no sense. It's unfair." Because, deep down, you have beliefs.  You believe it should be different. The problem is not the world or your life. Those things are nature—formless, amoral, apolitical, adogmatic, unorthodox, unpredictable, beyond systems and formulas, always changing. ... Continue Reading →

Being a Creative Writer in an Age of Anxiety

A colleague of mine, a self-employed commercial artist and science fiction writer I will call “Jim,” recently declared, “If you’re a man getting close to your 50s and you haven’t done something yet, don’t say you’re doing to do it someday because you probably won’t.”  Jim was criticizing another guy in the same industry, who... Continue Reading →

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