Attack of the Unseen Evil

September threw itself at our household with hurricane strength. While the wind and rain trashed Haiti and the U.S.’s lower southeast, evil peppered  my New Orleans home in the form of my mother’s surprise cancer diagnosis, my uncle’s death, and a ratcheting up of tantrums from my children that makes me consider constructing a panic […]

The Vagabond’s Saga: Reading two clan narratives separated by a thousand years

Five days from now I’m leaving my fluttery skirts and tank-tops behind and going to Iceland. I’ve skimmed a guidebook or two, but mostly I’m preparing by reading The Sagas of Icelanders. Sure, it might not be super relevant to cafés in Reykjavik or useful as to which camping sites are the best, but for […]

Quiet Craving: Using Solitude for Deep Work in the Arts

When I was young, I wanted to be a nun. This was actually a compromise. I aspired to be a monk, but reality was creeping in, and when I cast my eyes into the adult future, I worried that even if I kept my short hair, my double X chromosomes would somehow be discovered. It […]

How Many Charlies Fit into a World?

In the early days of December, in a fit of indignation , I joined two political groups. This is surprising because although I’m political, I’m also a disillusioned introvert. Basically no system in America is left enough for me, and I wouldn’t attend your rally unless it had fewer than ten people. But I can […]

Dredging for the Muse

The other night I had one of those dreams that had all the narrative juices going… at some point in the dark warp of early morning it turned lucid, and I scrambled to remember characters, speech patterns, plot. I was certain upon waking I would shove all that meat into a novel. Drinking from the […]

“I forgot to say Hello” – Using In Medias Res to Open a Story

  We are on our way to the hospital, Ryan’s father says. Listen to me, Son: You are not going to bleed to death. Ryan is still aware enough that his father’s words come through on the edges, like sunlight on the borders of a window shade… On the seat beside him, in between him and […]

Battle of the Books

Écoutez bien: In one corner is Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard. This is a memoir-cookbook out April 7th of this year. It’s the sophomore book from Ms. Bard, a sequel to Lunch in Paris, which was stuffed with delicious and stories of l’amour far from home. Rumbling in the other corner, we have a […]