person_pin Essay Archives


Issue No. 141 ~ February, 2009

I go home. I go to see my other kids, because they need me, but really, because I need them. I take them to dentist appointments and birthday parties. On a play date, a mom confides to me that her son won't stop hitting in nursery school. What should she do, she wonders. I'm stunned by the question. Why ask me? I can hardly keep my kid alive.

Katie Couric is No Friend of Mine

Issue No. 133 ~ June, 2008

"When I figured out the gloved, masked woman's task, I remembered my advice to my teenage daughter...Sarah, who had the cat on her lap, suddenly thrust the animal off of her lap and screamed. I spotted the problem right away, a turd clinging to the fur on the cat's ass...I told her if that happened to me I would kill myself."

An Evening with William Burroughs

Issue No. 131 ~ April, 2008

We all got up to leave, and immediately someone was reaching for Burroughs' coat, while someone else went for his hat. After one person had helped him put on his coat and another had given him his hat, he turned to me and said with a wry smile, "Around here, I'm known as 'The Don'."

Death in Life, Life After Death, and the Novelist

Issue No. 125 ~ October, 2007

"...To be an ambitious writer--I am one--is to be involved in all sorts of troubles particular to the category, including the ones I've mentioned. I will not be advising you how to cope with them. I don't know how to cope with them. What I do is suffer them, like everybody else."

innovative fiction as liquid architecture

Issue No. 122 ~ July, 2007

"Perhaps an equally important question is how might we bring such amphibious notions out of the realm of abstraction and into the praxis of the creative-writing workshop, thereby inviting students to explore such possibility spaces themselves."

The Runner’s Anxiety

Issue No. 109 ~ June, 2006

Like the fellow who makes a living selling women's lingerie, an English professor must make a conscious effort to ensure that the pleasures that inspired him to choose his career do not decline into mere duties. Woe to the teacher who discovers that the novels and poems that once aroused his passions now wait for him like so much laundry to be folded. For the chief feature of recreation is that it is not required -- a mandatory vacation from work is a lay-off by that or any other name.

Sitting Danny Rolling

Issue No. 56 ~ January, 2002

I hung in the folds, too new to the area to chance grazing the fields alone. This was home of the Grand Poobah of the nation’s largest chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. This was gator country.


Issue No. 54 ~ November, 2001

The art is in the execution. Three or four players are optimal, but in a pinch, two are sufficient to perpetrate the game. The key here, as in so many things, is to play swiftly and assuredly, for expertise is its own enchantment and disguise. …