Wednesday, April 30, 2014

recommended reading

Sleeping In The Forest
I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
-Mary Oliver

Saturday, March 22, 2014

short places, people, things

Check out my writing collaboration with Sara Kaye Larson here:https://medium.com/short-places-people-things …. Insta-stories, unedited, and true from the road and beyond!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

five books


Vermont Studio Center asked us writers to share with the community the five books we love the most. I thought some of you might want some new reads. This was tough, but these are the ones that carry the most weight for me right now: 

American Pastoral by Philip Roth 

This book is a breathless and devastating account of the late '60s. Roth's gift is character, plotting, and surprise. Every time, I felt settled, he would push me on a side road. It's really about the American Dream/Way, which is an idea of progress, but so many are rooted in the "pastoral" and terrified of change.

How To Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

Orringer's characters are often children or teenagers thrust too soon into predicaments they are not prepared for, but what's really captivating is Orringer's choice to focus on them in the throes of it all, never even close to the finish line. There is no certainty of a happy ending in any of these stories but there is so much strength in these fumbling protagonists. This collection is a real accomplishment and brain food, as it's always the hard middle of the struggle that haunts us, or at least, me.  

Housekeeping by Marlilynne Robinson 

A seductive, quiet novel about female drifters, the tethers of family, and weather. This book isn't carried by plot, but rather atmosphere, lyricism, and character. God, it could conjure a good painting. 

The New Valley by Josh Weil 

A collection of novellas, this book explores the hill country between West Virginia and Virginia. These characters are separated by miles in hardscrabble loneliness and the danger of the wild. Think of those road trips you've taken through tiny towns, Weil gets to know those gas station attendants and side-of-the-road repairmen. Their hunger for connection is shockingly tender and beautiful. 

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides 

Eugenidies story, in turns romantic and creepy, tackles the those guilty in the forgery of happiness, the horror found in the mundane, and the backlash of repression. Eugenidies loads everything with meaning particularly time, saints, and the Parks Department sweeping of the ancient neighborhood trees---the quietest way I've ever encountered a writer nod to gentrification. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

historical geography

Here is one of those eureka google stumblings I have on the vary rare occasion, and in this case I'm showing off an atlas of America from 1492 to now. While this may not initially seem thrilling, I was able to see the shape-change of politics, industry, wealth, and population over the span of American development. It was particularly interesting to see an animated display of topography change and to zoom in to a location in which one of my fiction or non-fiction pieces is set and see the way the land was actually for the period in which I'm writing.

A big thank you goes out to the University of Richmond. This is nothing short of amazing and proof that the internet sometimes makes more room for living when the research can be this easy.

Tour the Atlas and its tidy Table of Contents here.