Punks: 1a) Characters That Create Action, Characters Worth Creating

January 10, 2012


Verboten though it is to admit in some circles, I have never liked the short fiction of American literary god Flannery O’Connor. No doubt a genius of titles (“Everything That Rises Must Converge,” etc.), but of Story? Try as I might to glean her genius even as an adult sliding toward 40, I see only […]

Posted in: Fiction, Revision

Happy Anniversary, Achtung Baby: 20 Years of Rebellion for My Writer’s Toolkit

November 14, 2011


In the nine months I’ve been on blogging hiatus, a nostalgia for the 1990s has gathered steam. Madison Avenue engineered much of this wistfulness with its campaigns for the 20th anniversaries of Nevermind and Achtung Baby. Throughout September and October, the Bedford Avenue L train stop—aka New York City’s hipster ground zero—was plastered with circus […]

Sleeping with Books No. 10 (Special European Edition): Parisians

April 2, 2011


It’s all Europe’s fault that I’ve neglected my blog. Work, Life, and novel editing aside, planning a Brussels-Roosendahl-Paris-London itinerary with my sister Erin—who took this shot with her hot-off-the-ship Fuji Fine Pix F550EXR—ate serious hours. Seven months later, here we are on the other side of The Pond about to close leg two, on a […]

Sleeping with Books No. 9: A Dunce Among Us

March 6, 2011


Thanks to a certain Irishwoman and a dinner she organized at a Prospect Heights restaurant, I met an incredible librarian who fulfilled a dream of mine last Friday. For the first time in my New York life (12 and a half years), I got a tour of the main branch of the New York Public […]

Introducing the Book-Pass-Along; All Pulp Sickos Welcome

February 13, 2011


At my advanced age, I have become incredibly selective about which books I read (not to mention sleep with). I approach them the same way I approach people, taking a bit of time to gauge their style, tone, and sensitivity. Are they just here to sit limply on a coffee table with a tight spine? […]

Sleeping with Books No. 8: Oh, Henrietta

February 9, 2011


Apologies for the drawn-out radio silence. I’m a godforsaken lazy bastard blog keeper/editor. To the point: “Sleeping with Books” is back, with a guest contribution from Kate Sheehan, a librarian in the deadly Connecticut Contingent. As you will see, she has gorgeous, splashy, photo-ready red hair and a brain that’s bulging from behind the book. […]

Return to the Room of My Own: Revision Unplugged

January 19, 2011


There is something to be said for writers working in the realm of Reading 2.0 to redraw personal boundaries. I haven’t posted anything since Christmas for a damn good reason, and it’s because the Internet was too much with me. After a lovely holiday with my family in North Dakota, then three days stuck in, […]

Sleeping with Books No. 7: Skippy Dies (And So Do I!)

December 25, 2010


Throughout best books 2010 deliberations at my job, two words haunted me: SKIPPY DIES. While I dove headfirst into Franzen, Skloot, and the other short-list heavyweights, librarians on Twitter were word-of-mouthing the shit out of Paul Murray’s second novel about life at a private Catholic boys’ school in Dublin, Ireland. Having read and liked Murray’s […]

“Don’t Forget You’re Alive”: Joe Strummer and The Making of Chloe Thorpe

December 22, 2010


A couple weeks ago, the Internet dazzled me yet again with its connecting powers. Sitting there on my Author Page was a comment from one Chloe Thorpe of England: Heya, I just found your blog and I am completely blown away. I’m in my second year of university with aspirations of writing anything musical related […]

Songs That Are Books That Like Books To Be Songs: More Thoughts on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Novel

December 17, 2010


Back in October, I wrote a post titled “Your Band Will Never Be My Life, So I Write Fiction, Assface*” about the incredible difficulty of capturing the transportive qualities of rock music in a novel. It sparked a super-fan-kid conversation in the Comments with my librarian Toby Greenwalt, who wondered, “[A]re there any pieces of music that […]