Five Literary Theories and Their Limitations

This is going to be one of my last posts on literary theory, I promise. At least for a bit. Well, maybe until I finish reading David Herman’s essay “Narrative Theory after the Second Cognitive Revolution” (fascinating stuff about the mind itself as a product, as well as a producer, of discourse). We’ll see. ButContinue reading “Five Literary Theories and Their Limitations”

Literary Theory: The Class Everyone Loves to Hate

Different institutions give it various names. Narrative Strategies. Textual Strategies. Literary Theory. Readers and Writers. But whatever you call it, it’s usually one of the first required classes. It’s also the class I’ve heard the most MFA graduates groan about. What’s the point? I’m never going to use this stuff. So, here I am, making upContinue reading “Literary Theory: The Class Everyone Loves to Hate”

Literary Journals Need a #MeToo Moment

Lately, I’ve been reading through elite literary journals, and I have to say I’m disappointed. Thanks to #MeToo, Hollywood had a reckoning, and now viewers and producers alike cringe at male characters pursuing women who have directly asked them to stop (Parks and Rec, The Office, all Star Trek before the exceptional Discovery, The Big Bang Theory, etc.).Continue reading “Literary Journals Need a #MeToo Moment”

How to Take a Critique

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of whining on Twitter from authors. Someone left a bad review of their book on Amazon. Or someone gave a 4-star review but meant 3.5 stars. Or someone just didn’t get it. These authors receive unfavorable critiques as if they were personal insults or the equivalent of systemic injustices.Continue reading “How to Take a Critique”

Bergman’s Female Characters

When I first viewed Ingmar Bergman’s THE SEVENTH SEAL, I knew I had discovered one of my favorite filmmakers. Now, working my way through his oeuvre, I am deeply moved by the honesty of his female characters. The titular character in SUMMER WITH MONIKA (1953) is at first a high-spirited young woman (played by the sensuallyContinue reading “Bergman’s Female Characters”

“I Am Not an Easy Man” – More Anthropology Than Art

“I Am Not an Easy Man” (Je Ne Suis Pas Un Homme Facile) is a film I shouldn’t like—but do. Netflix’s first commissioned French-language film, it dives into the easy laugh every time: a little boy cast as Snow White, a male waxing scene, and men strapping on silicone breasts as they march for gender equality. Uneasily shiftingContinue reading ““I Am Not an Easy Man” – More Anthropology Than Art”

The Androgynous Genius of David Bowie

Growing up Mormon in the 1980s, I didn’t experience much pop culture beyond Rainbow Brite and E.T. But in 1988, I saw Labyrinth and was introduced to the cosmic force that was Planet Earth’s David Bowie. Both frightened and utterly bewitched at age seven, I fell in love. In my white bread, fiercely heteronormative suburb, IContinue reading “The Androgynous Genius of David Bowie”

Why I Attended the DIY Academy of Art Instead of an MFA

Becoming an artist can be expensive. If you go for an MFA, that can easily be upwards of $30,000. If you attend a private conservatory, like Cornish College of the Arts, it can cost you more than $36,000 a year. Just for undergraduate tuition alone. And after you graduate, chances are bleak that you willContinue reading “Why I Attended the DIY Academy of Art Instead of an MFA”

Perfectionism, The God of Destruction

I never understood before. As a writer, I’ve always been comfortable with drafting and revising and getting shit down on the page, trusting that with a lot of hard work and a fairy sprinkle of luck, it may become worthwhile. So when students and fellow writers came to me and said, “But I have toContinue reading “Perfectionism, The God of Destruction”

Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery

When I was six years old, I made a choice that would shape the course of my life. I chose my career. I had decided that I would become an artist. Now I had never met an artist, but two years later, I got the chance. My parents enrolled me in the Preparatory Dance ProgramContinue reading “Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery”