Next Boycott, Blame the Irish

Sometimes being a word nerd is just too much fun. I’m reading The Years by Virginia Woolf right now. It’s the story of the Pargiter family, from 1880 to the 1930s.Most of the novel is about this fictional family, but occasionally there are historical references, to kings and queens and such. In a few brief […]

How Poetry Ambushed Me

I always knew I’d be a writer. But the image I had of myself was of a penner of stories. I began my first novel when I was in fourth grade. It was set in Connecticut. I lived in Montana, and at the time had never been further east than Miles City of that same […]

Dancing the Line Between Fact and Fiction

I have been poring through volumes of memoir lately, by a wide variety of different writers. They have run the gamut of themes: illness, physical or mental (Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face,┬áSarah Manguso’s The Two Kinds of Decay,┬áLauren Slater’s Welcome to My Country: A Therapist’s Memoir of Madness); border-crossing or culture clash (Maxine Hong […]

Follow the Bread Crumb Trails

Back in early May, Marlene Cullen, host of The Write Spot blog, invited me to appear as a guest blogger, and then a couple of days later, she promised a review of my new book of poetry, Body on the Wall. It was in the first days of publicity for the book, before its official […]

Book Launch! Body on the Wall

It’s official! Body on the Wall, my first collection of poetry, has been released to the world! Here’s what the day (and the days leading up to it) looked like: It all started when Aaron Rosewater of Levin & Co. Bookstore in Healdsburg invited me to have a launch party/signing at his store — and […]

My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Over the course of the development of my book, Body on the Wall, I became good friends with Don Mitchell, one of the partners of Saddle Road Press. He took the photograph used on the cover of my book, did the cover design, and we coordinated all of the production work together via email, with […]

Crosswords Don’t Count

I have been in a horrific reading slump. For weeks and weeks now, I have been unable to pick up a book, with the exception of two slim volumes of poetry, which I have somehow managed to finish. Other than that, zip, nada, nil, zero. I blame it on my youngest brother. It’s all his […]

River Stones & Suicide

I was finishing up a draft of a new poem the other day, just as Sabrina popped her head into my studio to say she was heading off to work. So I said, “Do you have a couple of minutes? Can I read a poem to you?” “Sure.” I read the poem, and turned to […]

Stepping Up to the Mic

When I first moved to Cloverdale, I had the good fortune to almost immediately hook up with a local writing group that was just starting – The Night Writers. We met monthly to share our work and offer peer critique for nearly five years. After about a year, we decided we should take the leap […]

Word Hunger

The other night, discussing some random news item with my wife, I said, “It’s a profligate use of resources.” She said, “A what?” I said, “Profligate. Excessive. Wasteful. Extravagant.” She said, “Why didn’t you just say so?” I said, “Because that took three words, instead of one.” She said, “Yes, but ordinary people don’t talk […]