Tiredness, Truth, and Mockery: the American Way

Today, I wonder whether I should re-think some of my ultra-liberal biases and attendant leftist news consumption.  This is good.  But, man, I'm beat. The alt-right (and the radical religious right) to me seems like a uniquely American expression of deep stupidity but, of course, I would say that. Look at my demographic: college educated,… Continue reading Tiredness, Truth, and Mockery: the American Way

The Writing Life Ain’t Easy, Kid

Today I'm thinking about how most people locate the center of meaning in their lives in their social identity, which is synonymous either with their career role or some caretaking role or both.  But the artist finds the center of meaning in the act of making art.  This is an important distinction to keep in… Continue reading The Writing Life Ain’t Easy, Kid

Nobody Knows It But Me

Long ago, I was an English teacher at a private high school in central California. It was a good, if demanding, job and unlike many of my colleagues, I seemed to manage occasional moments of non-misery in the workplace. In fact, the two years I spent working there taught me more about human nature than… Continue reading Nobody Knows It But Me

Thoughts on Sally Yates

Woke up this morning thinking about Sally Yates—how standing up to President Trump seems to have dramatically influenced the course of her life, how I've watched part of her emotional transformation through social media, specifically Twitter, and how her public narrative seems to reveal and confirm things I've suspected about the nature of personal meaning… Continue reading Thoughts on Sally Yates

True Confession

First dig two graves. I think Confucius said that. But nobody started off by saying I wanted to stab my girlfriend and bury her in the backyard, but I was reading Confucius. So I dug two graves. Instead, they usually began with I really don’t remember. I’m not too clear on what happened. It was… Continue reading True Confession

Blame the Drugs

Today, there was flooding in London. I was supposed to be there. But because I have no cartilage in my knees, I often wake up in agony on barometrically improvident days. Dark days of lying on the bed, focusing on my breathing. Days in which it's hard to think, much less write. Days of codeine… Continue reading Blame the Drugs

Though Bennu Birds Might Rise and Fall

One of the great, maybe incredible, things about having interesting friends is that you have a lot of stories to tell, if you're the sort of person who likes telling stories, which I am. One of the sad, maybe horrible, things is that your friends are often your primary audience for these stories and people… Continue reading Though Bennu Birds Might Rise and Fall

I Just Had to Let It Go

  America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.  America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.  I can't stand my own mind. —Allen Ginsberg, America If there is such a thing as a formula for success in life, it might go something like this: don't complain, get results, and watch your back.… Continue reading I Just Had to Let It Go

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

Moving Forward, Cutting Loose

So the holidays are over. I spent mine reading obscure horror stories from the 19th century and the nonfiction writing of various friends, drinking too much Tetley's tea, and enjoying myself at home. I mostly stayed in Oxford this year; though, I did have fun going to London on Christmas Eve. It is, without a… Continue reading Moving Forward, Cutting Loose