One Job

For every good writing day, I have 20 bad ones.  A good writing day is one in which I feel inspired to make progress on a piece.  But that doesn't ensure that I will be able to finish it or feel satisfied if I do.  It doesn't mean that I will think I did a… Continue reading One Job

Problems and Solutions, Part 2: This is Why You Fail

​Here are some random thoughts on getting creative work done with a minimum of grief. Basic Artistic Needs.  In order to write, I need, at minimum: 1. Quiet. 2. Solitude. 3. Minimal levels of discomfort​ - i.e. not feeling feverish and sick (including being hung over, exhausted, or otherwise ill), the heater not turned all… Continue reading Problems and Solutions, Part 2: This is Why You Fail

Art is Your Right

Don’t buy into the romantic assumption that being a creative artist is easy for those who are truly talented and meant to do it.  This is a materialistic commercial lie.  Something I believe: art is part of being human and must therefore be available to everyone.  And those who do it right never find it… Continue reading Art is Your Right

The Portrait, the Authentic Self, and Freedom

Thoughts after spending 5 hours in the National Portrait Gallery, looking into the faces of Americans from the 18th century to the present day. If I've acquired any broadening of perspective from all the hours I've spent in the Washington D.C. Smithsonian galleries, it's this: every life is valid.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone is "okay."  Although… Continue reading The Portrait, the Authentic Self, and Freedom

Horror at 2½ Feet

Working in cafés can be wonderful.  A clean, well-lighted place with good coffee and relative quiet can be inexpressibly fantastic.  I’ve made the rent and written books in cafés.  On the other hand, close proximity to others under the influence of caffeine can reveal a certain darkness in the human condition that would otherwise be… Continue reading Horror at 2½ Feet

A Meditation on the Inevitability of Death

To myself, regarding death: You are going to die.  You may not like to think about it, but it’s going to happen.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe in 50 years.  Who can say?  That’s the bit you can’t know (thankfully).  But you do know where you’re going to end up sooner or later.  You do realize how… Continue reading A Meditation on the Inevitability of Death

Paying it Backwards

Or How I Got a Gypsy Blessing, Lost All My Money and Had it Returned to me, Lifted a Peugeot, Encountered a Catholic Folk Saint, and Caught a Girl Flying Through the Air Within Eight Standard Estonian Hours. My grandmother used to say, “When you got it, give it.  When you don’t got it, don’t… Continue reading Paying it Backwards

The Bullets

Leaving the country is a lot like dying.  At least, this is how people act when they learn that your destination will be a place where the dominant skin color isn't white.  As soon as you say you're going, friends and family, even soon-to-be former co-workers, begin to mourn.  And eventually you stop telling people… Continue reading The Bullets

The Replacements

It’s an old story.  Boy meets girl.  Boy marries girl.  Kids.  One of them dies, is imprisoned, is atomized in a steel box, gets deported, is spontaneously liquefied while buying a hot dog, is eaten by bears, runs off with a radio preacher, or goes out for a pack of smokes for 30 years.  Everyone… Continue reading The Replacements

Japanese By Spring

(or Why Robert Downey Jr. Owns the Role of Tony Stark and You Are Not Worthy) 1. Alien Slave Planet Once, long ago, I had the misfortune of riding in a truck being driven at high speeds by a drunk PE teacher.  We were in the mountains.  His name was Dick.  We'd just spent three… Continue reading Japanese By Spring