Monthly Archives: March 2009

Lessons from the universe

Atop the list of things I am sketchy at: patience. For the last several days, I’ve been given some lessons about patience. About not being snippy with a little boy who’s out of sorts and viral, or a student with a stressful project, or myself. … Read more

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Burn it down

I really am quite close to losing my temper. Tired of holding back this big fucking dog, tired of the struggle, ready to watch whatever comes next. 

On the other side of this, I have had quite a sentimental weekend. Gavin is sick. A fever, … Read more

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The machine in the ghost in the machine

I’ve never worked to an outline, but for the last two manuscripts I’ve written, I’ve had a climax to work toward. The climax has been a kind of lighthouse to guide me. 

On this current manuscript, I have no idea where I’m headed. The process … Read more

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Marilynne Robinson’s book Housekeeping is the first I ever read wherein the biblical allusions didn’t bother me. She handles that novel so beautifully that I savored every word. When I read an excerpt of her second novel, Gilead, in the New Yorker, I anticipated … Read more

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All the pretty stories

In October, a writer told me that she was tired of stories with tricks. We were discussing, specifically, Sarah Water’s novel, The Night Watch, which is told backwards so that it ends at the beginning. She felt that the story was strong enough to … Read more

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I’d imagined a lot of writing getting done: laptop propped on knees in the car, on the bed at the cabin, maybe on the table in one of the communal kitchens. Some vantage other than this single wall in the dining room, and the inspiration … Read more

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Home to the graveyard

While on vacation in the rain-blitzed mountains, I read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and fell in love all over again with my frightened little child self. This book is eerie, and lovely, and powerful. Gaiman plays against every expectation, about storytelling, about heroes, about … Read more

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Pistachio Sea Change

B.B. King did commercials for a while; and I think I saw one of these before I ever saw him in a print ad. Either way, what I remember is the guitar: the rounded beauty of it. The damn thing screamed MUSICIAN, and was real … Read more

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This month, on the New Yorker podcast, Joyce Carol Oates reads and discusses Eudora Welty’s short story, Where Is This Voice Coming From? I’m going to have to take a closer look at Welty. I read some of her elegant, funny pieces in college, but … Read more

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Subject matter

If you’ll concede that art is an attempt at redemption, not only for the artist, but for the patron as well, I’ll confess that this particular manuscript is working me over. God and basketball are tainted subjects for me, and I’m writing about both right … Read more

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