On Not Releasing The Sea of the Missing (yet)

I’m not sure why I want to keep this one to myself.


The Wisdom of Athena: On Standing in the Corner

Sud­denly she’s Omar from The Wire; she’s been arrested enough times to not take it per­sonal.


A Short Mockingjay Review

Collins cre­ates a com­pelling argu­ment in three books, and long before she puts her mes­sage directly on the page, we have plenty of evi­dence to believe that “some­thing is sig­nif­i­cantly wrong with a crea­ture that sac­ri­fices its children’s lives to settle its dif­fer­ences.”


Editing Fatigue


Personal Armageddons

A few streets over, there is a skull-cov­ered truck that adver­tises the end of the world on May 21, 2011.
I’ve been recon­sid­ering my deri­sion.


The Poisonwood Bible

This story was rewarding, but exhausting. In many ways, it was like spending time with a friend who cannot stop talking, but you listen because they’re intel­li­gent and inter­esting.


Fabricating Stories, and a Writer’s Value

I’ve never con­sid­ered writing work­shops or con­fer­ences — because in their ses­sion descrip­tions I hear echoes of the sure-fire for­mulas and moti­va­tion rit­uals that adver­tisers sell to aspiring authors with the promising of making them real. I object, both to these sys­tems and to the inse­cu­rity they create by implying that writing does not make one a writer.


Catching Fire, Misdirection, and Monkey Torture

What struck me most about Catching Fire was the amount of thought that must have gone into it — and in par­tic­ular, the dia­bol­ical cre­ativity that built such a world of horror for the pro­tag­o­nists, but this is, of course, how great fic­tion is made.


The Hunger Games, Dystopia, and Watching People Hurt Each Other

I’ve been thinking about the way we sac­ri­fice strangers to pre­serve our own rit­uals and com­forts — how these sto­ries occur every day.


Give us permission, through you, to have a flaw, because flaws are the norm. When you hide your flaws, you teach us to hide ours. I love to say that we are just waiting for one teacher - just one - to give us permission to be who we are now. You appear as this: big or small, straight or bent, that’s such a gift to give. The pain is in withholding it. Who else is going to give us permission to be free if not you? Do it for your own sake and we’ll follow. We are a reflection of your thinking, and when you free yourself, we all become free.

Byron Katie

Flaws and public perception


The Witches

In the end, there was no des­perate struggle to fight against reality — to regain what was lost, instead there was a com­plete embrace of the new. That’s a beau­tiful thing.


Metro Train

My Office on the Yellow Line

It’s Monday morning and I’m going 60mph between the King Street and Brad­dock Road sta­tions. This means that I’m writing. Others know this place as the loudest and dirt­iest part of the metro car – that 2-seat bench at the far end where people can be found sleeping or carving graf­fiti into the wall. Wel­come to my office.


Traveling with a Magical and Revolutionary Device

My life is ter­ribly imbal­anced, and for that reason, every seg­ment of my day is rationed. You may imagine how I wel­comed the prospect of 7 days almost com­pletely to myself. The problem was how to squeeze as much living as pos­sible out of the expe­ri­ence.

You may imagine how I wel­comed the prospect of 14 hours of flying time, plus 8 hours on a train and even better, 7 days almost com­pletely to myself. The problem was how to squeeze as much living as pos­sible out of the expe­ri­ence.


Four Writing Tools I Can’t Live Without

Free­mind, iSpeak It, Mac OSX text to speech, and a custom built pro­gram make up a set of tools that make writing easier for me.


green eye

Why ‘The Hulk’ is a Wayward Transformation Myth, and How I’d Retell It

The idea of the Hulk should ter­rify us. Banner is an inter­esting and com­pelling char­acter exactly because the con­se­quences of his faults are so enor­mous. Instead, the vil­lain is usu­ally exter­nal­ized, and his internal struggle is respon­sibly and pre­dictably chan­neled. This changes the premise entirely. Rage is replaced by strength, and we’re left with He-Man – a nice guy who needs a slap to get his fight on, and a kiss to turn him back. It’s sud­denly a weak story about Superman’s glasses.


What I [Don’t] Like in a Novel, or, I Hate Sun-Warmed Flagstones

I mar­veled at per­fect metaphors and watched the verbal cin­e­matics unfold, but in the end, I found myself frus­trated and praying for the sun to set on those “smooth, dusk-warmed flag­stones that cooled like the color of a whis­pered memory …” and let me get on with my life.


Why Avatar Was More Than a White-Guilt Fantasy

Whether Avatar will reach the status of Star Wars or The Matrix is doubtful, but I do think it rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in our shifting cul­tural values. Our thinking is changing, and the themes of pop­ular movies, including this one, give us a way to mea­sure those changes.


antique typwriter

How to Write a Story (If You’re Me)

… the problem wasn’t that I didn’t have any ideas – it was that I was trying to force a story for the sake of writing alone. One might as well insist on cooking any object close at hand – you’ll even­tu­ally get some­thing, but what? The impor­tant thing here is that I had nothing to say. When attempting to write a story, solving that is the first step.