About Me

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My work can be found in REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, New Delta Review, and Gargoyle #57, among others. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. Currently, I'm an Associate editor for Narrative Magazine. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with Elizabeth Strout

at Failbetter

I love everything Elizabeth Strout writes.

In terms of process I'm quite interested in "Olive Kitteridge" being considered a hybrid, and in the reasons Elizabeth Strout gives for the structure. My other novel, not the one I drafted in March, but the one I've been working on for over two years now, has come to me in a similar fashion. And knowing that kind of hybrid isn't considered as marketable as a novel has done nothing to whip my muse into compliance. I'm not sure why the novel is coming to me through stories, perhaps because the span of time and the subject matter are daunting for me to handle in one neat line. Before I drafted this other novel, though, I thought it was a failing on my part of being able to write a normal novel. I'm proving that theory wrong. (I'm not talking about quality of content, mind you. That will remain to be seen.) And I'm beginning to understand that each project demands its own kind of attention and process.


Wordle is fun and the results are visually interesting. I'm not sure how useful it is in analyzing your work, but the clouds are pretty. I don't post mine, but instead, I just print them out for fun. I've done three short stories so far. I haven't tried it for a micro (probably won't make much of a cloud--more like a wisp) or a novel.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Narrative's Winter 2009 Contest

The results are in. Congratulations to the all the talented winners and finalists!!

Laila Lalami interviewed

at Powells.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Olive Kitteridge wins PULITZER!!!!

I love, love, love this book. I am so thrilled that it was recognized in this way!! Many deserved congratulations to Ms. Strout.

And it's a novel-in-stories!! Hooray!

*Thanks to New Pages for the original link.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Congratulations to Ron Currie Jr.

and the rest of the writers honored this year!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Read This: Jim Tomlinson's Nothing Like an Ocean

Jim Tomlinson’s stories in his collection Nothing Like an Ocean and the characters who inhabit them run as deep as the ocean. There’s something endearing about these people struggling to get by, get past, get closer. Tomlinson’s writing is smooth, his worlds easy to enter.

My favorites were the title story; Angel, His Rabbit, and Kyle McKell; Overburden; and A Male Influence in the House. Perhaps they stood out for me because Tomlinson does not shield his readers from the uncomfortable, or the uneasiness of despair. He doesn’t shield us from three quietly broken adults all complicit in a child’s death, doesn’t shield us from a soldier’s brokenness and anger, doesn’t shield us from the murder of whole mountain tops and all the life reliant on those ecosystems, doesn’t shield us from the horror of a young man poisoning himself in an attempt to feel something other than his lonely anguish.
There are no neat, happy endings but therein lies the veracity of this collection. And often Tomlinson’s endings are spot-on gorgeous such as the one in Overburden, juxtaposed as it is against so much destruction:

“Inside Sarah will tell him that her labor has started, early pains, but unmistakable. There’s no need to rush, she’ll say, but they shouldn’t delay, either, getting to the hospital. It’s only a matter of time. Yes it’s five weeks early, maybe six, but their future, she’ll assure him, is most certainly happening now.”

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

More about process...

Laila Lalami has a post about process today that I found interesting--quite near the end of the process, but still resonates all the same.

Pictures of Process

Sandy Novack, author of "Precious," has generously posted pictures of her process during the writing of her debut novel. I'm always fascinated by how other writers work, and I suspect many of us are. It's such an insular act and so when we're allowed a peek into another writer's world, I think it may alleviate some of the loneliness.

It's also a superb example of the power of revision and the power of the process itself. Reading Sandy's book, you can see for yourselves how something amazingly beautiful can emmerge from a process that's allowed to get "messy."

Here's to getting messy.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Read This: Precious by Sandra Novack

I've been a fan of Sandy Novack's short stories for years. And I've come to know her a little through the internet and through her sage advice on my own writing. What I know about her personally is this: she's smart, funny, and extraordinarily kind. What I learned about her after reading her debut novel is that the depth of her soul and her heart must be so large as to be immeasurable because surely one cannot write a story like this one with anything less. This novel had me sobbing not just at the end, but also in the middle at the most unexpected times. Novack is a writer who understands the power of connecting emotionally to her reader.

Precious is the story of what happens to a family when a little girl goes missing in their small town. But while the disappearance hangs heavy in the periphery, a storm is raging within the Kisch family. And journeying through that storm, one learns just how vulnerable a child's (and teen's) limited understanding of the adult world makes her. The aftermath leaves no one untouched, including this reader.

As a writer I was impressed with Novack's technical ability: lovely, exciting, elegant sentences that weave the tale, seemingly effortless, from start to finish; masterful handling of the omniscient pov; and brilliantly carved characters--all things to be admired, and for me at least, to be studied.

Reading this book was a rewarding and gut-wrenching Experience. I cannot wait to read another by this extremely talented author.
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