"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." ~Samuel Beckett
Books
Summer Reading

Summer Reading

It’s been a great summer! Trips and relaxing and coaching- all have played a role- but I think the main thing that;s really ignited this summer has been reading. Yup, reading. The thing I do every single day of the year in small doses I have maxed out on this last month and a half....
Beloved, in Flames (sort of)

Beloved, in Flames (sort of)

They’re banning books again. This time in Fairfax County, Virginia. The book is Beloved, by Toni Morrison. They’re not burning the book- not yet- but I’m still  incensed. The full article from the Washington Post can be found here. The gist of the story is this: Laura Murphy, a concerned mother whose 17 year old...
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

“Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil So in the aftermath of the Hill I’ll Die On manifesto I just wrote, I decided to crawl up out of my uni-bomber bunker and watch a movie.  I can only watch so much of...
A Storyless Story

A Storyless Story

I just finished Scarlett Thomas’ latest novel, Our Tragic Universe, which got me thinking about fiction, story, the afterlife, new age religion, relationships, and the writing life.  In short, this fascinating novel got the juices flowing, which, in the end, is what you hope good fiction will do. Meg, Thomas’ protagonist, is a genre writer...

That Old Cape Magic

I love Cape Cod.  I’ve been going there since I was sixteen, then with my parents, now with my children (and still my parents) to the house we have rented for the last fifteen years.  So you can imagine the joy I felt when I purchased Richard Russo’s That Old Cape Magic for my mom...

42

As a birthday thought, these lines that close Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter: “…one natural effect of life is to cover you in a thin layer of…what? A film? A residue or skin of all the things you’ve done and been and said and erred at? I’m not sure. But you are under it, and for...

RIP JD Salinger

First Zinn, now Salinger. Arguably both old enough to have lived “full lives,” and both influential in their respective fields, it is, nonetheless, saddening to report their passings. And yet, two in two days. This report from “The Onion” is simply brilliant. Thought it’d be fun to reprint here: CORNISH, NH—In this big dramatic production...

RIP Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, the influential historian and writer, died today at the age of 87. His controversial “A People’s History of the United States” was required reading in a course I co-taught called AP US History/English 11 Honors, and became a staple of status quo challenging rhetoric for the kids. Loved him or hated him, Zinn...

Finn and the Politics of Narrative License

Just finished Jon Clinch’s excellent debut novel, Finn. Wow…what a dark ride! Clinch takes the story of minor but memorable character Pap Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and fleshes out his back story in vivid and sometimes brutal style. Finn is a nasty, mean, racist, whiskey swilling, river man that happens to have...

RIP John Updike

Sad and sorry news today: John Updike has died at 76. I loved John Updike. He was one of those writers whose work was appealing because it was, on many levels, true. Even though it was older stuff, and his most famous works- the four novel “Rabbit” series- were written in the 60’s, 70’s and...