“Old friends”

I wake up on this morning each year thinking of my childhood friend, also named Lisa, remembering that it’s her birthday. Even though I haven’t seen her since 1988, I wake up thinking of her simply because when I was 8 years old I tried really hard to remember this–to attach this date to her. […]

Call for submissions

The deadline for The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest is tomorrow, February 28! Poets, consider entering something if you haven’t already. TNQ is an excellent literary journal with truly wonderful, humane editors to work with. They are great supporters of their writers. You get a subscription just by entering the contest. The journal […]

Ode to particularity

Have you read Zadie Smith’s essay, “Fail Better”? I find it deeply heartening. The essay borrows its title from Samuel Beckett’s lines (famous among writers): “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Some highlights:

“For writers have only one duty, as I see it: the duty to express accurately their way of being in the world” […]

On imperfection

I think it will be the nature of these posts to be a bit rushed, certainly imperfect. I don’t know yet what their value might turn out to be. But I suspect their primary value will have to do, precisely, with imperfection.

Winter forest photo by Jonathan Martin-DeMoor

I’m testing a theory, by creating […]

On perishable gifts

There will never be time to write every essay, poem, story that presents itself—I know this. Especially now, while my life is so full with the domestic dailiness of raising kids, effort that matters and whose effect lasts a long time yet at the level of the day leaves no trace. (The traces left by […]