The Best Advice So Far - the builders

the builders

I was wakened from a sound sleep by the ungodly grinding of a saw cutting through what sounded like concrete or metal right outside my bedroom wall. The whole place shook, setting the nearby jar candles to skittering. It was immediately clear that this was not going to be a situation solved by fingers in the ears or pillows over the head. So I got up. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, there was a loud crunching and a thunk. That sounds like it’s right in the house, I thought.…

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The Best Advice So Far - elevator


Whenever someone learns that I’m a writer, they inevitably ask the following two questions: What do you write? Who is your target audience? They’re reasonable questions. And you’d think that after a decade of professional writing, I’d have honed my elevator pitch by now. I haven’t. I’ve tried—really, I have. But it doesn’t seem any easier today than it was when I first started. You know how people will ask you a question and a response comes directly to your mind, but then you edit it by the…

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white cotton briefs/underwear hanging on a clothes line


I’ve always thought it a little strange that we as a culture are conditioned to believe that certain topics are taboo. Unmentionables, if you will. I’m not sure who decided what made The List. Perhaps it was the same unmentionable “they” who are so often referred to in cultural lore: “They say people hide razor blades in caramel apples.” “They say you shouldn’t swim within thirty minutes after you eat.” “They say the average person swallows eight spiders a year while sleeping.” Pure…

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Stylized sketched emoticons (happy, mad, crying, love) against random doodle background


Yusif is a talented writer. He’s completed one novel. He’s several drafts into another novel and has two more in the works. I know Yusif personally. I’ve read his work. We’ve brainstormed together often. He’s creative and his ideas are truly unique, never derivative. What’s more, I’m certain that Yusif’s stories have mass-market appeal. I was hanging out with Yusif at a museum one day two summers ago. He was looking at a blurry, black-and-white photo from the early 1920s, depicting a…

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Paper dolls in a chain with world flags showing through

we are the world

My new book, TRIED & (Still) TRUE, just launched this past week. It’s been cause for much celebration. It’s also been cause for a major lack of sleep. And staying in sweats all day. And not showering some days (which, if you knew me, is really saying something). And, if I’m being completely honest, I even realized after 4:00 PM one day that I hadn’t even brushed my teeth yet. So Sunday afternoon, when I ventured out for a trip north to visit my cousin, it felt strange to have the sun on my…

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sketched montage of frog on a penny farthing bike, bugs on bikes, a cuckoo clock, key and derby hat

where i’ve been

Well, my poor blog has lain neglected for just over six months. In the past few years, such an absence would have been sure sign that I'd run afoul of some mysterious and prolonged illness or other. I'm happy to report that this time, that is not the case. In fact, I'm quite well! You may also rule out other culprits such as laziness (never!), boredom (ha!) and forgetfulness due to age (alas, I don't have a suitable interjection for this one because it's not that far a cry for me to imagine…

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if i can do it today - The Best Advice So Far - Barrel of Monkeys monkeys forming a chain across a blue sky

if i can do it today

I was a skinny kid with a big butt. Just calling it like it is. By skinny, I mean that I’ve been five-foot-nine since eight grade—haven’t grown an inch—and yet, when I graduated high school, I had a 26-inch waist and weighed 105 lbs. Alas, a disproportionate amount of that sleight weight was carried in the caboose. For a too-long stretch growing up, I ripped the tags off all my pants, picking the threads apart stitch by stitch with my teeth if need be, just to get rid of the blasted thing.…

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what if

“How are you?” “How’s it going?” “What’s new?” While I’ve often had full-blown, soul-bearing conversations result from my posing these simple prompts, the typical range of expected replies remains fairly limited: “Good, and you?” “Eh, you know…” “Not much. You?” I suppose these exchanges serve some purpose in social settings, though I tend to be aware of the ironic distance evident in these greetings. That is, I find it odd that we ask how someone is if we don’t actually want to know. Most…

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