the stranger

i’ve been edited before but not like this. i’ve learned a lot about craft, much more than i anticipated. my editor, Sean Virgo, pointed out my tics (in that moment), lazy phrasings (consistently describing characters by their eye colour), and repetitions of indirections (think, wonder, consider). the indirections, the indirections! his ability to hold eleven stories in his … Read more

tendency toward refusal

Zadie Smith gave a lecture on creativity last week and discussed a “tendency toward refusal” and “a little friction”. it was highly stimulating. my head hurt, afterward. and i’m still processing. i think it was a call to arms. to push oneself into new territory and make a personal stand. here’s an excerpt: To my … Read more

writing advice from Sherman Alexie

The Top 10 Pieces of Writing Advice I’ve Been Given (Or That I’ll Pretend Were Given to Me)* by Sherman Alexie [10] Don’t Google search yourself. [9]  When you’ve finished Google searching yourself, don’t do it again. [8]  Every word on your blog is a word not in your book. [7]  Don’t have any writing … Read more


“tempo, girls, tempo!” the lizard called. “count it out!” he skittered across the floor, skidded to a halt and stared indignantly up at them. “this is ridiculous!  i shouldn’t have to remind you there’s a great deal riding on this!” the girls coughed and looked down at their hooves, embarrassed by both his sharp tongue … Read more

scorched earth

there’s an artist in LA called Mark Bradford and he creates oversized pictures out of canvas and paper and paint. he calls his work “social abstraction” or abstract art with a social context “clinging to the edges”. (p.3) i can buy that; art should do more than one thing. the painting above is titled ‘Scorched … Read more

first lines (voice)

Stephen King says first lines are all about voice. i think a first line is knocking on the door. and i ask: who is there for me? will the door be thrown open with abandon? left ajar for me to enter at my own speed? or is there no one waiting? let me check the … Read more