It’s Not Flashy, It’s Not the Himalayas Or Vegas; BUT Giving Back (and not) Can Happen Here and Small

Brooke and Jeff are taking a year away from their real jobs as social worker and physical therapist to travel the world writing and photographing for a social justice travel magazine—first to Rwanda, then Cambodia, Nepal, Vegas and Cuba. Kind of kicks the shit out of the cans of creamed corn and kidney beans I plunked into a grocery bag and placed on my front porch for a local church to pick up for their food drive a few Sundays ago.

Why I’m Not Comfortable Using the Word Motherf*^#er (but please feel free, unless you’re my kid)

 Short answer: I have teenagers. “Like they don’t hear it at school,” you say. “Or say it themselves.” Yeah, I realize teenagers are fluent in profanity—I was in junior high and high school once. But that doesn’t mean I’m off the hook from preserving for my daughter, 13, and son, 16, one pocket in theirContinue reading “Why I’m Not Comfortable Using the Word Motherf*^#er (but please feel free, unless you’re my kid)”


Dear Butler University MFA program, Booth, Hilene Flanzbaum, Rob Stapleton, and Andy Levy, Thank you. Thank you for sending me to AWP 2013. As an expression of my deep gratitude, I offer this wee token of my affection and appreciation for you and your commitment to your staff and students. So. Let’s recap. AWP isContinue reading “AWP 2013 RECAP: WRITE LIKE A MOFO”

When Words Fail, Poetry

Obama quoted Scripture. Addressing the nation about the massacre of babies in an elementary school in a picturesque Connecticut town yesterday afternoon, he wiped a tear and invoked the Psalms. In a torrent of Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? How can a loving God  . . . ? ? ?,Continue reading “When Words Fail, Poetry”

My Next Right Thing This Morning

I had a writing professor who recommended copying, literally, tangibly, work by authors whose style most lights your writing fuse. Pick an author, prop open a book, lay it next to the laptop, and type the words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters until, I suppose, some sort of osmosis (and muscle memory?) occurs.

Vacation Highlight: St. Regis Princeville Ginger Margarita

Lodging at the St. Regis Princeville is rich for our wallet, but sunset at the Living Room is within our budget (barely). The Ginger Margarita I sipped over sunset was a vacation highlight this summer. No prose will be as snappy as this party-in-a-glass, so let’s cut straight to the recipe. Ginger Margarita: St. RegisContinue reading “Vacation Highlight: St. Regis Princeville Ginger Margarita”

Maud Newton Is a Nice, Selfish Reader

As I drove to hear her address the MFA students in the Butler University Efroymson Center for Creative Writing the other evening, I formed a question to ask during Q&A. I can never think of an original question at these things or have burning curiosity about anything I haven’t already read about an author in an interview, but there was one thing I really wanted to know from this Rebecca “Maud” Newton, who has been a champion literary blogger since before blogging was even a word. What I wanted to ask her was,

Writerly Gems Public Schools Can Produce

First off, we French are the direct descendants of those glorious Franks who conquered the Goths and Vandals after they sacked the Roman Empire, so the voracity with which my people fought should come as no shock to anyone. Second, let it be known that our attack was by no definition unprovoked.