Solving climate change one slick magazine at a time.

Read my latest in Splice Today: https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/jonathan-franzen-can-t-solve-climate-change-for-anyone-who-matters  

2010

First, a Sincere Declaration of Thanks I’ve spent most of my life running in circles looking for something authentic, then waiting for permission to explore it, and harshly criticizing myself when I didn’t get that permission.  Maybe other people have different experiences, but this has been mine, my personal through-line from childhood to the present. … Continue reading 2010

STEM, Scientism, and the Decline of the Humanities – my latest on Splice Today

Read it here: https://www.splicetoday.com/on-campus/stem-scientism-and-the-decline-of-the-humanities

Acts of Defiance

I once took a creative writing workshop from Richard Ford, in which he spent a lot of energy inveighing against the epiphany in short fiction. This must have been in 1997 or 1998. Little did any of us suspect at the time that his vehemence was probably a reaction to a single bad review that… Continue reading Acts of Defiance

The MFA Distortion Field (yes, Dottie, and not just in Iowa)

I sat down today intending to write a piece critical of certain shrill MFA voices that seem to have gotten shriller since MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction hit the shelves last February. Is “shriller” actually a word? It is. But it only takes meaning as a comparative adjective once something that… Continue reading The MFA Distortion Field (yes, Dottie, and not just in Iowa)

A Tale of Two Cities (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Creative Writing)

It was the worst of times.  It was the worst of times.  It was incontrovertibly, without a doubt, the absolute worst of times.  And yet my former student—we will call her Mary Sue—still had the presence of mind to ask me how I was before she broke down in tears.  She’d gotten rejected by 7… Continue reading A Tale of Two Cities (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Creative Writing)

The Sound of the Sea

* Note: this was written a few years ago, but I never submitted it to magazines. ~ M My enormous, perfumed, fedora-wearing friend, Walter Kaminski, sits across the table from me outside a Starbucks in San Diego and tells me there is no god.  I look at him like he’s crazy and he smiles as… Continue reading The Sound of the Sea

The Year of the Bastard: A True Life Story from the MFA Underground

1. Bad Juju My eyes were opened and I understood. “I can tell you one thing,” said Louie, taking a drag on his cigarette and leaning back in his chair, “he steps over the line again and we’ll have words.” “You won’t do anything of the sort. Don’t be ridiculous,” said Burt. “I’ll kill the… Continue reading The Year of the Bastard: A True Life Story from the MFA Underground