As you may have noticed, I’ve been away from this blog for a while. In fact, I spent a lot of the winter and fall away in general—I was lucky enough to spend some time at Ucross in Wyoming, where I got a lot of writing done, and also bought this snazzy cowboy hat: One […]


The paperback version of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self is out this week. If you know someone who needs a copy, but prefers their books in convenient lightweight form, let them know! NPR has just kicked off its 7th round of the Three Minute Fiction contest, and I am guest judging. Details here. I’ve […]

Summer Events

On June 27th, I’ll be reading at Rutgers, Camden as part of the Summer Writing Conference.  While workshops are only for registered students, all of the conference readings are open to the public. On June 28th, I’ll be reading with Tayari Jones at the Free Library of Philadelphia. (I’ll have an afternoon to spend in Philly […]

On Common (Sense) and First Person Narrative

I’m not going to get way into the argument about Common’s White House visit, in part because I refuse to give a certain news network attention for their temper tantrum, in part because I’m committed to keeping this substantially a blog about writing (not because I think writers shouldn’t have and share opinions about the […]

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Cliches

I don’t ever tell my students to “write what they know,” for fear they’ll misinterpret and limit themselves to an unfortunate degree. The phrase itself has always seemed to me alarmingly imprecise, and I’ve wondered about a better way to express the portion of the idea that’s useful. When the phrase “a lion as taxidermied […]

Baltimore, Nervous Breakdowns, and Monsters Under the Bed

This Saturday I am headed to the Baltimore CityLit Fest, which has a really exciting schedule of readers. If you’re local, drop by! I also have a self-interview and a short excerpt from one of the stories in the book up over at The Nervous Breakdown, where I was lucky enough to be one of their featured […]