What is fiction? What is it for? Hints at an answer to these imponderables turn up in the unlikeliest places. For example, in an old article on psychology's replication crisis: If it turned out that people were so variable that even very close replications threw up entirely different results, “it would mean that we could … Continue reading Manifesto, Advertisement, and Excerpt: Introducing The Class of 2000
There was a debate recently on social media over indie press Tyrant Books's tweeted proclamation that "they no longer accept agented authors." The pro-agent side argued that agents were necessary as advocates for the economic and creative interests of authors, while the anti-agent side claimed that agents were bottom-line-focused gatekeepers of the middlebrow, inescapable duller … Continue reading Buy Portraits and Ashes for Small Business Saturday!
Older generations of writers who had come up through the ranks of journalism (and who had often been to war) used to complain about the academic colonization of literature, particularly of the novel, that ostensibly most democratic of forms. In "American Plastic," for instance, his survey of postmodern fiction, Gore Vidal lamented a context so … Continue reading Back to School: Literature and Life
As you might have guessed from yesterday's defense of self-published literary fiction, I have independently published a novel, Portraits and Ashes. For a brief description, here is the back cover copy: Julia is an aspiring painter without money or direction, haunted by a strange family history. Mark is a successful architect who suddenly finds himself unemployed … Continue reading Announcing Portraits and Ashes
If American literature had been left wholly in the hands of established publishers—Ticknor and Fields, for instance—Longfellow might have remained our greatest poet. But Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, had Leaves of Grass printed, at his own expense, in 1855—he even set most of the type himself. Likewise, if Virginia … Continue reading Literary Fiction: To Self-Publish or Not?
(Inspired loosely by this essay on planning vs. non-planning novelists.) I have written two and a half novels now, and my method seems to always be the same, despite my best intentions: I begin blindly with a character or image or situation or metaphor and then explore it at random, writing toward I know not … Continue reading Composition: Planned vs. Unplanned, Written vs. Typed
My short story, "White Girl," which I had thought too controversial to be published even before it took on a new and ghastly relevance this summer, appears in the first issue of the brand-new (and especially beautiful) Amaranth Review. You can read the inaugural issue in its entirety here; my story starts on page 70. Its … Continue reading Published: “White Girl”
Please click here to read my new poem in the debut issue of Muse / A Journal.
Introduction The person who made the statement quoted (not quite verbatim, so please don't go googling) in the eighth numbered section of my post on Jimmy Corrigan is the editor of a journal that published a short story of mine last year. At $10 a copy, this journal is probably not reaching very many people, and … Continue reading Short Story: “The Embrace”
Please click here for a free pdf of my latest short story, published in the December issue of Writing Raw (and check out the rest of the issue!). Writing Raw prefaces each story with a brief description; here is their teaser for mine: When her sister announces that is absconding with a dubious man attracted … Continue reading Published: “Sweet Angry God”