Why the smartest people make the most mistakes

When I was five, I sat on the white stripe that demarcated the soccer goal—or nearabout—and picked flowers. My father was competitive, bothered. He yelled at me from the sidelines. Meanwhile, a trailing pack of children kicked the ball in large figure eights around the field. It was my first and last soccer game. IContinue reading “Why the smartest people make the most mistakes”

What happens when our relationships drive our art

I’d never met him before, and he’d made me cry. What was it like to be Kazuo Ishiguro, I wondered, and to know that, at any moment, you could encounter a stranger whom you’d made cry? I guess, as with anything: strange at first, and then gradually less strange. He was reading at a synagogueContinue reading “What happens when our relationships drive our art”

What no one tells you about writing…about yourself

It was my second year of an M.F.A. program in creative writing. I was enrolled in a creative nonfiction course. “Think of the ‘I’ of now,” we were told, “and the ‘I’ of then.” Most people likely haven’t heard of this concept. I had not either. In short: the ‘I’ (or eye) of now—your presentContinue reading “What no one tells you about writing…about yourself”

Why bliss is different (and arguably more important) in adulthood

I’m a little embarrassed that a muffin and coffee can bring me bliss. I’m passionate about food, but is my life that small? Shouldn’t I have something better? On the other hand: why not a muffin and coffee? Why should I need a better reason to feel bliss? And while that’s the word I’ve chosen, here’sContinue reading “Why bliss is different (and arguably more important) in adulthood”

3 Books That Changed My Life

Image source Inspired by this Reddit thread (which was inspired by this), I want to do justice by a couple of books that I didn’t see mentioned (enough, or sometimes at all). All of these changed my life: East of Eden. I received a beautiful, thick paper, serrated-edge copy of this from my best friendContinue reading “3 Books That Changed My Life”

On Edge of Tomorrow and Female Badassery

Tom Cruise is nobody’s sidekick. If ever an actor stood alone in film–battered, bloodied hero by the denouement–it would be he. Set him in a Groundhog Day-esque time loop, the same battle repeating over and over, and you’ve got the perfect formula: a man alone, bettering himself as warrior, as tactician, as a paragon ofContinue reading “On Edge of Tomorrow and Female Badassery”

On PAX East and (Their) Gaming Community

Image source Last month I went to the Penny Arcade Extravaganza–East. PAX East, they call it, and what that really means is: a big, nerdy gaming convention in Boston. Five things about PAX: There were a gratifying number of women present. There were a gratifying number of women not being ogled. PAX was the firstContinue reading “On PAX East and (Their) Gaming Community”

On Shyness and Writing

Image source I am twenty-eight, and sometimes, walking down a sidewalk, I still find a point in the far distance and make that my friend, and everything–everyone–goes to watercolors at the periphery. I am a writer. I am shy. They seem almost canonically opposed: to be shy is to be fearful; to write is toContinue reading “On Shyness and Writing”

Five unforgettable contemporary (short story) characters

I’ll be teaching a creative writing course in the fall, so I’ve been shuffling, brushing, idling my way through all my favorite short stories, mining them for the best possible instances of pen to paper or fingers to keys. In doing so, I realized that plot–while important–doesn’t wedge itself into the crevices of my mindContinue reading “Five unforgettable contemporary (short story) characters”