Writer, reader, teacher

  • In which I talk to awesome people (and admire their dogs)

    In which I talk to awesome people (and admire their dogs)

    I’m an editor at Bloom, a site for and about writers working in midlife and beyond. This week I interviewed my friend Anne Elliott, who in addition to being an amazing writer (and dog-adopter, and ukulele player) is a former Wall Street financial analyst. Our conversation starts with a description of how Anne changed her […]

  • Subject Position as Craft Tool: An Investigation

    Subject Position as Craft Tool: An Investigation

    Thanks to Fiction Writers Review for publishing a version of my MFA degree essay. This (writing craft) essay examines the novella “Blessed Assurance”, by Allan Gurganus; the novel Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee; and the short story “Brownies”, by ZZ Packer. I use subject position as a tool for thinking about how writers deal with privilege […]

  • Gifts


    Thanks to Bodega Magazine for publishing my story, “Gifts”, in its 100th issue (and for nominating the story for a Pushcart Prize): “Sit up straight. Chew carefully. Today is the day you’re meeting them—the family who read about you on a bulletin board and offered to help. They have a long low house designed by […]

  • Orange peel

    Orange peel

    Honored to have two pieces—an essay and a short story—in this month’s issue of LEON Literary Review, alongside some amazing writers. Here’s a taste from the essay: “When my brother and I were small, and my mother was out somewhere—at work, or perhaps in a psychiatric hospital, I don’t recall—my Dad showed us how he […]

  • Fact, fiction … and truth

    Fact, fiction … and truth

    History, it seemed, disagreed about the sky. ‘Many guests especially recalled the beautiful moon that shone that evening,’ Chapter Five of Lincoln in the Bardo begins. ‘There was no moon that night and the sky was heavy with clouds,’ it says later. ‘The guests began to depart as the full yellow moon hung among the […]

  • The evolution of Anne

    The evolution of Anne

    Okay, I admit it. I didn’t like 80s Anne of Green Gables. I’m sorry. I know. People loved 80s Anne. She was funny, and cute, and clever. And the film is well done. But I couldn’t connect. An unwanted child whose defining characteristic was optimistic smarts? Who, when told she couldn’t stay with her new family, looks […]

  • Reasons to read The Lighthouse

    Reasons to read The Lighthouse

    First, to dispense with an irritation. The guy who said Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is ‘not about anything very interesting or important’[1] … well, he was wrong. To the Lighthouse is about love, and subjection, and forgiveness. Art. Parenthood. Death. It conjures up—if you’ll excuse my earnestness—the joy and dread of being alive. So […]

  • These four walls

    These four walls

    As far as kid-me was concerned, The Three Little Pigs was the fairy tale. Cinderella, nah. Too princessy. Rapunzel—ugh, all that hair. Dashing heroes, terrifying hijinks? Nope, just give me the hero who builds his house out of bricks. This copy of the book is so familiar to me: the trio of worms cutting the […]

  • I-love-you-and-also-do-you-have-cheese?


    So I was going to post this longish essay on J.M. Coetzee, but I thought instead, I’d tell you about my dog. That’s him on the right there. Odie. He’s a seven-year-old rescue beagle who has fans in various places (I’ve come out of shops to find strangers taking selfies with him). And he’s hungry. […]

  • Tidings of comfort and … pause

    Tidings of comfort and … pause

    Shortly after I had my first child, someone bought me flowers. Let’s say they were irises. For more than a week I shuffled past those flowers, bleary and joyous and confused. We had made a person. With eyes and ears and hair; who had hands that would grasp at cups and spoons and pens and […]