Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My new short story about shedding skins, trans identity, family, home, revenge, avatars, and forgiveness. Feel free to share it with folks you think might dig this kind of work.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Poem of loathing ...

My poem up on Poetry Daily (okay, I'm two days late) is about my love-hate relationship with the reader. And this one is a little less love and a little more hate (and fear).Thankful to be included -- with all my rancor. Here is the ugly despicable link.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Want to write an Op-Ed? Do it.

If you're inclined to write opinion pieces for newspapers, now is the time! Seriously. Now. 

To help people navigate the how-to of op-eds, I gave at talk at VCFA this winter, followed by a Q & A on all sorts of topics. It was a long talk and, mercifully, it's been condensed so you don't have to suffer all the war stories and long-winded asides -- thanks to the good people of Hunger Mountain. 

Here's the link

My New Job at VCFA.

The announcement went out this week that I'll be the faculty director of Vermont College of Fine Arts' relatively new residential MFA program
I want to say how much I've loved teaching at Holy Cross, a complete joy. And I will still be teaching graduate screenwriters at Florida State University's Film School; they can't seem to shake me. I've been so lucky to have such generous and smart colleagues. 
And I'm very excited to start at VCFA, a college I've admired for so long! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Strategies: How to Press On

My fellow writers, here’s my fear: you’re not writing. I’m afraid that the barrage of chaos from the White House is pounding down on you. I’m afraid you read the news and feel like your arms and legs have been ripped from your body -- maybe I'm projecting. Let me be dull here and just offer a few strategies to get back to the page. Know that I'm being selfish. It's hard enough to think of all that's being ripped from so many of the people in this country; I don't want to think that your writing is also being taken from us.
Here goes. You're going to have to cordon things off. It's the only way to survive.
1. Set a timer on your phone. Disconnect. Two-hour chunks. You're going to have to do this with your elbows out, fiercely.
2. You might want to try writing differently than you have in the past. If you didn't write to music, try it -- with headphones on.
3. Have a weird food that's hard to eat nearby -- sunflower seeds or something -- so your hands are busy when you're taking a break and gazing. You won't be as likely to drift back online.
4. Keep the best books around you at all times. Don't reconnect before your time is up. Open one of the books.
5. Tape the picture of a writer you deeply admire over your desk. Let them keep an eye on you.
6. The administration's constant chaos is a mental loop that will keep whirring in the back of your mind, taking energy and attention, drawing you back to it. Write a list of a few things you want to do once you're finished writing -- a rep you're going to call and two articles you're going to read. Writing lists helps close mental loops, studies show.
7. Hold each other to it. Create small groups or one-on-ones that hold each other accountable and check in to make sure you're still meeting your allotted time at the page.
8. When you get back online, set a time limit for that too.
9. Each of us can't hand over ourselves, our time, our energy to constant vigilance. This isn't on you alone. When you're writing, know that we're all taking turns keep watch.
10. If you can, use it. Let what's happening in, let it alter your state. Write from that feeling of being torn up, write full-steam, armless, legless, heart-ful.
Most of all, press on.

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Book of Poems -- out in the world!

Amid all the awfulness -- how can it keep coming at us this fast? -- my new book of poems has made it into the world. INSTRUCTIONS, ABJECT & FUMING -- seems like the exact title of 95% of the Facebook posts I'm drawn to these days.
It's been ten years since I published my last book of poems, and some of these poems were written during the short and terrifying rise of Sarah Palin. (Remember when McCain tried to calm the crowds she riled and stood up for the integrity of his opponent? It seems centuries ago.) I felt sick and bereft -- and was certain that the English language didn't have the words to express what I needed to say and so I went backward, looking for words that we'd lost. Some of these poems draw on those lost words. (I think we're going to need new words this time around.)
If inclined, here's the link. And if you're a reviewer and want a copy, let me know and we'll get you a copy.

For more information, here's the back jacket of the book with quotes from two writers I deeply admire -- Aimee Nezhukumatathil and David Wojahn. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

hold up! it's free!

Okay, so I didn't understand this before but "THE VIRTUAL SWALLOWS OF HOG ISLAND" is up at as of today, for free. 
Enjoy. Share with others, if inclined...