Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays from Dubai

This picture was taken at the bookstore Kinokuniya in Dubai by a friend of author Ru Freeman. Ru's book A Disobedient Girl appears in the center right of the photograph, as does Bone Worship in the bottom left.

And here my mind was blown was someone wrote to tell me they bought a copy in Australia.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Excerpt from "All the Moon Men We Have Loved"

Cynthia Hawkins's wonderful film anthology Writing Off Script is now available on Amazon! Please buy a copy and help the kids of Joplin.

Included in the anthology is my essay "All the Moon Men We Have Loved." You can read an excerpt of it here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NYC Sunday Salon

Video of me reading in September at NYC Sunday Salon. I was nervous. :-)
Click here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing Off Script has a release date!

On December 1st, Writing Off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema will be available as an e-book! Proceeds benefit Joplin Public Schools Tornado Relief Fund, so please, please, pretty please buy a copy.

My essay, "All the Moon Men We Have Loved," will appear in the anthology, along with wonderful essays by Greg Olear, Robin Antalek, Nathaniel Missildine and interviews with Art Edwards, Simon Smithson, and many others. Writing Off Script is edited by Cynthia Hawkins and published by Calavera Books.

Here's a sneak peek at the fabulous cover!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Manhattanville Faculty Reading

If you're in the vicinity of Purchase, NY tomorrow evening, please join me for the Manhattanville Faculty Reading, 7pm in the library. I'll be reading with Greg Olear, Kris Jansma, Jonathan Tropper, Jeff Pearlman, and many other professors and students from the Undergraduate Writing Dept. Promises to be a great night!

Click here for more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Review of Bone Worship

I'm humbled and amazed that nearly two years after Bone Worship was published, it's still being read and reviewed. Have a look at blogger Jessica's (of Life According to Jessica) lovely review here.

Thank you, Jessica!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Our house juts into the woods, under the shadows of trees and into the air space of moths, and so for a time we’ve been allowed inside the thrum of summer. Leaves turn in the ghostly breeze of dusk, their papery faces meeting like secret lovers. Dogs and children run hard over the rocks, their hearts racing each other into the dark. Bats echo-locate dinner and each other, twitchy gray forms slicing past.

Very easily the summer din could claim us, play us as ancillary instruments. I’d be okay with that. I offer my spine as a xylophone.

Listen, now. Moth wing. Ping of solid bone.

Each morning, the vines come closer. Jetty dragonflies rest their wings on the wood steps, miniature helicopters cooling their engines.

One morning, I open the curtains and meet a cicada clinging to the window screen. Her eyes bloom out of her head like poppyseeds. Her mouth-grill scrapes tiny spiders from the mesh. I listen to the whisper of her eating breakfast as coffee slides down my throat.

This summer is loud and fast. It shoves past me, spins my head. A million sounds at once.
I’m listening.

At the end of the month, I’ll be teaching here. I’ll share stories with my students, and they’ll share their stories with me. I’ll listen. I’m so lucky to be able to listen.

I wrote some stories, linked by tendrils, by dragonfly wings, into a collection called The Hibernarium. I was lucky. The Hibernarium has been named a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

I and a lot of other writers have contributed essays for Writing Off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema, the e-anthology brainchild of writer, editor, and TNB contributor Cynthia Hawkins, forthcoming from Simon Smithson’s Calavera Books. We all watched coverage of the tornadoes in Joplin and wanted to help, and with the wisdom and guidance of Cynthia Hawkins, we did the only thing we know to do. We spoke. We built a city of words.

Proceeds from the anthology benefit JET-14 via Joplin Schools Tornado Relief Fund. We hope you’ll buy and read it.

We hope you’ll listen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On Facebook, Technology, and the Nature of Friendship

They tell me I’m better on the Internet. Funnier on Facebook, more oomph than “IRL.” I’m not sure how to feel about this. I suppose my avatar is something of an improvement, a jovially connected version of myself, my greatest hits, quickest comebacks, and most “likeable” observations. Version 2.0 as Zadie Smith says in her controversial essay, “Generation Why?”

Smith is one of many writers who have taken to “struggling against” Facebook lately, worrying how a generation whose umbilical cords are on display in their parents’ profile pictures will fare over time. Not to spoil the surprise, but she isn’t terribly enthusiastic about their future. Unwilling to go gentle into Smith’s dark night, The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal followed with a considerably more optimistic, less end-times approach, defending social media while targeting the motives of literary writers who moonlight as Facebook critics. Most recently, Jonathan Franzen explored the limitations of Facebook in his New York Times essay, citing technology as an impediment to love and an enabler of narcissism.

Franzen’s essay, excerpted from a commencement speech he delivered at Kenyon College, details his transformation from BlackBerry devotee to birder as if describing a path to redemption. Jesus in the form of a rufous-sided towhee. It’s a brilliant piece – as are all three of these – and his celebration of hard earned love is undeniably admirable, if a tad easy. In making his point, Franzen designates technology (special mention goes to Facebook) as the bogeyman to his more authentic, love-filled existence.

“The ultimate goal of technology,” Franzen writes, “is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes…with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.” In other words, the idea that Facebook and its software kin have allowed us to abandon the real world to escape into a world of our own design, and thus our own vanity... To read the rest of this essay at The Nervous Breakdown, click here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June Fever Burning

June fever burning
Can’t tell
the difference, under the skin, under the sun.
Stand there all day, skin red to white
like bird shit smeared down a metal screen.

June fever burning
Cook the meanness out
Peel skin, boil cells, kill germs.
Turn up the heat,
Run to my lungs, to the shale rock, to the ground.

First day of June
Ugly bird babies
A mother’s nest of sticks and worry,
Fox snake lawnmower
Everything out to get what’s hers.

First day of June
Everyone’s having babies
Faces like dough, hard gristle eyes.
A mother’s nest of sticks and worry,
Inside not a one of them can smile.

First day of June
Take the tools from the shed.
The father and his boy plant flowers in the crack
Up in the shale rock where it makes no sense
They’ll catch water but not much else.

June fever burning
Heads of broccoli on the floor,
Dinner party skeletons.
Twenty-two legs, not enough chairs,
Uncle folds himself on a pillow like a girl.

June fever burning
We tell mean stories,
Balancing lukewarm plates on our knees.
We laugh when we hurt each other
We laugh til we’re sick.

June fever in my lungs.
Keep going til it makes sense, til I run myself
in the ground.
The father and his boy will come plant flowers
In the crack where the water lives, in the shale rock
Where I used to burn.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Try a Little Selfishness on Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Thanks to a wonderful partnership between Red Room and AOL, Red Room authors are often invited to submit something for one of AOL's various outlets, with $100 donated to a charity of the author's choice.

It's such an honor to have my article, Try a Little Selfishness, up today at AOL's Parentdish, with a donation to a cause (and a place) close to my heart - the Yaak Valley Forest Council. Please read about the Yaak Valley (and donate, if you can!) and in the meantime, hope you enjoy my piece in honor of Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Heart Malaprops

If you're ever in Asheville, North Carolina, get thee to Malaprops and buy yourself an armful of books. Great store and incredibly kind staff. It was certainly one of my favorite stops on the tour!

Alsace Walentine, the events coordinator at Malaprops, posted this great Twitter picture of herself reading Bone Worship:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Red Room Original

I'm honored that my essay "The Longest Day of Her Life" -- about a young woman leaving her home country in the Middle East -- has been published as a Red Room Original. You can read it here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Montana Days and Ways

My essay, Four Years in Montana, has found a new home in this month's Connotation Press! Have a look here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On Writing, from Beth Hoffman's Brava!

A great perk of having a book out in the world is that it acts as a kind of calling card, bringing people into your world, and you into theirs. Beth Hoffman, author of the New York Times bestselling novel Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, is one of the most generous people I've ever met, in addition to being a splendid novelist. It's an enormous privilege to know her and to read her work.

Beth was kind enough to ask me to contribute an essay on writing for her site Brava, which introduces authors and readers. Here's my own version of advice for beginning writers: Head Above Water.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New at TNB, None of the Above

"A man and a woman went for a walk near the road named for luck...and found the skull of a boy."

I have a new essay about a missing boy, grief, and how well we really know each other at The Nervous Breakdown here.