On McSweeney’s Publishing, The Genius of Miriam Toews and Jonathan Plombon, and The Use of Humor as a Gateway into Difficult Subject Matter

If you’re fortunate enough to have been one of my victims over the past few months, you’ll already be aware that I’ve been occupying my time with an incessant rampage of recommending All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews to anything with eyeballs and a pulse. Every now and then, I’ll read a book so … Continue reading On McSweeney’s Publishing, The Genius of Miriam Toews and Jonathan Plombon, and The Use of Humor as a Gateway into Difficult Subject Matter

Writing for Non-Writers: or How to Free-Write Free Will

There is a common misconception that a writer is a particular sort of person. That being a writer is something you’re born into, that someone either can write or can’t. There also is a second common misconception:  the idea that people have to want to read what you write for it to be “good.” Given … Continue reading Writing for Non-Writers: or How to Free-Write Free Will

Lessons on the Power of Concision from Yasunari Kawabata

In judging this year’s flash fiction contest entries, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Yasunari Kawabata, a master of the form. Yasunari Kawabata was a Japanese writer who, in 1968, became the first Japanese author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. While he is likely better known for his novels, such as Snow … Continue reading Lessons on the Power of Concision from Yasunari Kawabata

How to Pretend to Have Read Books Without Really Trying

Like most college students—and like all who wear lens-less glasses—I entered freshmen year entirely assured I was uniquely well-read. My first year taught me three important things (in addition to imparting on me the wisdom that lens-less glasses picked me out as uniquely unlikeable): First, my taste in books was not unique (however at the … Continue reading How to Pretend to Have Read Books Without Really Trying