Friday, April 11, 2014

New Story: "Later Then"

Hello long ignored blog! Did you miss me?

Today I have a new story up at Wigleaf (I heart Wigleaf). It's called "Later Then."

This story also happens to be an excerpt from my novel, Believers, which should be out a year from now, more or less. 

I'll post an update on the novel soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Rhythm of the Words

"It’s definitely about the rhythm of the words and how they sound together, writing one sentence and then another and another and cutting something immediately if it doesn’t feel true. I come from a family of musicians and—while I have no musical abilities of my own—I think I inherited a good ear. It’s also obsessiveness. I’ll spend a lot of time working on a single sentence, debating over a dash or a colon, etc. I want things to be perfect. I know nothing will ever be as perfect as I want it, and this is very sad, but sometimes I can get close."

Don't miss Matthew Salesses' interview with Mary Miller (via the Rumpus). 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


All this week Five Chapters will be publishing daily installments of short story "Babies."

You can get started with part 1, which is available here

Happy reading! 

Update: part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5 also now available. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014


"Bob worked at The Dairy. Not a dairy dairy with cows and milking devices and such, but a place we called The Dairy, because, I think, its official name was something like The Something-View Drive-Thru Market and Dairy. This was the mid-1980s, when there were still drive-thru markets..."

I don't write much nonfiction these days, but I have a short essay-ish thing over at BULL. It's called "Bob, or When the Nights Are Both Long and Short," and you can read it here.

If you went to high school with me, you might recognize some of the names and places.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Writing Year Recap

It was a good year. It was a very good year…

  • I sold my novel, Believers, which is slated to come out in spring 2015 from Algonquin Books. (Foreign rights were also sold in Poland and Turkey.)

  • I did the final edits for Believers and worked with my wonderful editor Andra Miller (next up: copy edits).

  • I wrote a new short story, which I sold to Glimmer Train (due out in November 2015).

  • I started on a new novel (20K words and counting; fingers crossed).

  • I attended my first AWP conference.

Rarely do I stop and step back and appreciate what I've accomplished. I'm always on to the next thing, rushing ahead. But I have to say, this feels like a pretty damn good list. If I can lick this cold, I'll have some extra reasons to celebrate tomorrow night.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Embrace Uncertainty

"When writers who are just starting out ask me when it gets easier, my answer is never. It never gets easier. I don’t want to scare them, so I rarely say more than that, but the truth is that, if anything, it gets harder. The writing life isn’t just filled with predictable uncertainties but with the awareness that we are always starting over again. That everything we ever write will be flawed. We may have written one book, or many, but all we know — if we know anything at all — is how to write the book we’re writing. All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try to remember that the job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it. Each time we come to the end of a piece of work, we have failed as we have leapt—spectacularly, brazenly — into the unknown."

-- Dani Shapiro

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Coming Sun. Mon. Tues.

And speaking of the Kenyon Review, they recently put an early (1966) DeLillo story on their website. 

The story is called "Coming Sun. Mon. Tues" and it's one paragraph and there's a kind of manic energy to it that I really like. 

Here's a sample:

"The boy runs from one end of Chicago to the other. Then he looks for a job to get the money for the abortion. He is interviewed by a series of tall men with elegant fingers and they all tell him that they’ll let him know if anything turns up. He insults one of the men, an old school chum of his father’s who is the president of a management consultant firm and cannot understand why the boy did not finish college. The boy insults him beautifully. The man is so out of it that he is not even sure he has been insulted. Then the boy and girl go to a store in San Francisco or Toronto or Liverpool. They steal some groceries. They leave the store laughing with the groceries under their heavy sweaters. Then the boy stops at a flower stand and steals a flower for the girl. Then they go home and she cries. Then they go to a party. Everybody at the party is a phony except for one guy who’s a West Indian or an American Negro or a French Canadian. This guy tells them that they don’t know the first thing about being bitter. They have no right to be bitter. He tells them a thing or two about life and death. Everybody else is doing the freddy and this guy is telling them about real suffering, real pain. Telling it like it is. Then he rolls up his sleeve and shows them how he was wounded in Vietnam or Mississippi. Meanwhile everybody is doing the freddy and talking about Andy Warhol or the Animals. The boy and girl go home again."

And here's where you can read the entire story (it's fairly short).