How to Sleep on Christmas Eve Tonight let us sleep like children on an unmade bed. Sleep at the table with your hand beneath your head. Sleep with your face pressed against the cold glass or on the floor beneath a braided rug, hugging your tissue box, finally consoled. Sleep through the clocks. Sleep through the […]Read more "How to Sleep on Christmas Eve: A Poem"
You Don’t Have to Explain A poem is your mother’s shadow moving through winter, ethereal and familiar.Read more "Everything I Have to Say About Poetry"
It was the coldest day of the year. My wife and I sat at a table at Embers drag club, watching the leaves swirl in little tornadoes on the street outside. “Are you nervous?” my wife asked. “No,” I lied. We were waiting for the Tegan and Sara concert at the Roseland Theater. Sara […]Read more "How to Be Famous"
“I’m doing National Novel Writing Month,” I tell my writing students. “It’s fun.” They give me the look I give my trainer when he talks about a “really fun triathlon.” It’s like that really fun diet where you eat nothing but chard. But it is fun, and thousands of people participate every year. The goal is to write […]Read more "10 Reasons to Win NaNoWriMo"
“I Knew if She Caressed Me, I Would Die” excerpt from Forgive Me if I’ve Told You This Before The club was in a section of town that appeared to be nothing but warehouses. “I don’t think this is right.” Chloe’s knuckles had been white on the wheel ever since we pulled out of the Singing […]Read more "“I Knew if She Caressed Me, I Would Die” – Excerpt from Forgive Me if I Told You This Before"
Be careful. Halloween costume selection is as important at twenty or thirty as it was at seven. Plan carefully. Tonight you will be immortalized in a hundred photographs, irretrievably posted by your friends and coworkers. First, aim not to offend. Ask yourself: will this be racist in twenty years? Not everyone who donned a little […]Read more "Halloween: Find Your Secret Awesomeness"
The 157th person to tell me I would never get a job in teaching was my mother’s friend’s sister who was visiting from New York. We met in line at the Safeway and engaged in the small talk that transpires between well-meaning 50-somethings and 20-somethings clinging to youthful naivety. “So you’re in graduate school. What […]Read more "Men Swallow Live Boa Constrictors or How I Got My First Teaching Job"
Sit in the front row. It will make you look smarter. Know that the people who seem smarter, probably aren’t. They just put in more time. You will never have enough time, but you have more than you think. Stop playing video games. Raise your hand. Visit your professor’s office. Do not begin with […]Read more "Advice to My Students on the First Day of Class"
1. You’re not writing unless you’re writing. I once worked in sales. My mentor said, “If you’re not talking to a customer about your product, you’re not selling.” The same is true for writing. Researching, outlining, and brainstorming are important, but they are not the same as writing. Put your pen to the paper, […]Read more "Ten Tips for Finishing Your First Novel"
On the first day of fall term, I joke to my students that they can reinvent themselves. “When I call your name, tell me if you go by something else,” I say. “If you want to go by Lucky, just say, ‘people call me Lucky.’ We’ll believe you.” It’s only half true. If that boy […]Read more "“On Dildos” or “Why I Don’t Use a Pen Name”"