The Summer 2014 issue of The Baltimore Review is now available online. On its site, you can read not only one of my recent flash nonfiction pieces, "Cop Cars," but also some excellent poetry and fiction from writers around the country. My favorite pieces from this issue include: Vincent Poturica's short story "Habte," about an Eritrean immigrant at a child's… Continue reading The Baltimore Review
There's a phase of the writing process to which I'm particularly resistant. It's not the dreaming phase, where even the worst ideas look golden. It's not the sitting-down-to-a-blank-page phase, where I hesitate to ruin those golden ideas by turning them into words. It's not even the arduous process of writing an entire first draft, then a second, then a third. When things look like crap, with no trace of inspiration anywhere, I… Continue reading The Importance of Readers
Conventional psychological wisdom says that we avoid the things we fear. That avoidance is, in fact, one of the primary indications that fear is present. But what about those cases in which our fears actually push us into the arms of their objects? What about the boyfriend who is so afraid his girlfriend will leave… Continue reading Are We Attracted to the Things We Fear?
Lately, I've been playing around with creating a poem that reads two ways. All poems, of course, can be understood in multiple ways, but I wanted one with words that could actually be read in two different orders--and make just as much sense in each. Early on, I came up with the idea of arranging the… Continue reading A Matrix Poem
"When you're a novelist, you're a gossiper of the imaginary." -Jane Smiley, winner of the Pulitzer Prize It's been awhile since I've written any fiction. Sometimes I think I'm too analytical to do a good job of it. I am, after all, a philosopher by training, and philosophy requires thinking very systematically, and favoring rigor… Continue reading A Gossiper of the Imaginary
I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you an embarrassing habit of mine. When I'm trying to get some perspective on a piece I'm revising--trying to step back and see where improvements can still be made, where it's not quite up to par--I pull a book off one of my shelves. I… Continue reading A Silly Writing Habit That Works
Kate Hopper's memoir of her daughter's premature birth--Ready for Air--has finally arrived. And it...is...luminous. On the Brevity Blog, Hopper describes her difficult, ten-year journey to publication. The manuscript of Ready for Air was rejected over and over, by both agents and editors. Many of them complained that the book was "too dark." Even once she completely rewrote it, it garnered… Continue reading Ready for Air
My eyes hurt. They literally freakin' ache. Not because I've been a diligent, nose-to-the-grindstone sort of adult, slaving over some survival-related task that must be finished tonight whether my vision fails or not. No, I've been doing this to myself for pleasure. Because I have been enjoying a book so much that I can't put it down even when… Continue reading Frying Eyeballs