“Learning Mode:” Melbourne Culture Corner (Australia)

I knew it was going up in their second edition, but somehow with the U.S. election and the intransigent presidential impersonator we’ve all been forced to manage for the past four years, I missed the tweets by Steven Pearman and team. However, at some point or another today I felt I could finally look away. Sure enough, I learned that the wonderful new Australian-based literary journal Melbourne Culture Corner posted it’s second edition on November 6, and my small story “Learning Mode” is in there (go to pages 15-16 in this PDF).

I am tickled pink to have a piece published out of Melbourne. I lived there a long while back for a year with my family when I was eleven. I also lived in Brisbane for a year when I was six.

Continue reading ““Learning Mode:” Melbourne Culture Corner (Australia)”

Two Days Before the Election: Careful With Your Endings

The best story I ever wrote came about this summer of all summers. It’s called “Animals with Nowhere to Go.” I’m still working on it. This has been a year that makes it nearly impossible for writers to end their stories. I read that compendium of fiction published in the July 12, 2020 New York Times Sunday Magazine section. None of those pieces seemed to end properly. I can only imagine each writer — great writers! great stories! — had to fight hard to stay away from endings that finish with question marks.

I’m having a difficult time figuring out what tense to use as I write this essay because I can’t tell if what we’ve lived through is still being lived or whether we are actually on to something else.

There are things you depend on in order to create fiction that actually means something. Those things had vanished for most of us by the middle of 2020. We were in new territory. This year may well be as close to chaos and Kurtzian horror as we’ve ever been (although I’m beginning to have grave concerns for 2021 as well).

Continue reading “Two Days Before the Election: Careful With Your Endings”

Slo-Mo Creativity and Flash Stories

If you could watch anyone who considers themself a writer at work, you would likely wonder what they were doing. Writing stuff for others to read — from books to poems to stories to online articles to technical papers to freakin’ product brochures — tends to be an extended, measured and prudent process that involves looking out the window, organizing your email, watching porn (usually actively), reading back issues of People magazine pilfered from your dermatologist’s office, working on a blog post started six months before, checking on your fantasy sports team, thinking about lunch (or dinner), napping, scrawling something “deep” in a notebook, eating cookies, going to the grocery store, wondering why you just read the latest New Yorker short story, and making lists of stuff you need to get done when you finally have time.  

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My story “Litter Entries” made the cut in the Margarite McGlinn fiction contest

I’m quite happy to report that my short story, “Litter Entries,” has been posted online at the literary publication Philadelphia Stories website. It did not win in the Margarite McGlinn Fiction Contest, but did indeed make the final cut as an Honorary Mention.

“Litter Entries” operates on a lot of levels. It takes place in a fictionalized version of LOVE Park in Philadelphia. I began to write this piece in 2012 before the park got completely remodeled. For awhile I figured I needed to add all that change to the story. The new LOVE Park is nothing like the old one. However, I realized as I wrote and re-wrote that Continue reading “My story “Litter Entries” made the cut in the Margarite McGlinn fiction contest”

Male Writers Are Not Trying to Be Assholes

I just finished Haruki Murakami’s latest collection of short stories — Men Without Women. It’s a sad, surreal, gentle, loving, almost sexy group of stories about different ways men feel regarding being alone in the world and grappling with being somehow womanless.

I’d guess most people who are not heterosexual won’t really appreciate this book. That makes sense. For all other heterosexual writers, I want to apologize right now and forever more from the bottom of our hearts: we can only write about Continue reading “Male Writers Are Not Trying to Be Assholes”

The Effect of Not Reading Books – or Why the DNC Should Stop Asking Me for Money

The Democrats want me to give them money really badly. They say they need it to fight Trump and his cronies. For the last few months they’ve been saying they want to win a special congressional election in Georgia and show well in Kansas and Montana. They’re testing the waters, attempting to declare a referendum against Trump and conservatives in the fight for America. But I can’t give them money. I won’t give them money. Not to fight and not to pretend they have a referendum on the Continue reading “The Effect of Not Reading Books – or Why the DNC Should Stop Asking Me for Money”

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