Preparing for the At-Home Writing Retreat

This will be my first staycation without a bouquet of flowers on my desk. But it will also be my first writing retreat in years. In fact, the next seven days will be the very first official writing residency of my Accessible MFA. So to say I’m excited, even with the complications of COVID-19, wouldContinue reading “Preparing for the At-Home Writing Retreat”

Strout’s Disturbing Portrayal of a Child Sex Predator

CONTENT WARNING Literature has a long history of sexualizing children, especially girls. Often, it centers the adult gaze, exploring pedophilia from different angles. “Death in Venice” and Lolita are two of the most famous examples, but it’s difficult to play literature jeopardy without an explosion of examples where old men fancy young women or even children, whetherContinue reading “Strout’s Disturbing Portrayal of a Child Sex Predator”

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”

Responsible Fiction: Toe to Toe with Difference

Writers have to get outside their own skin. But sometimes I get overeager to inhabit differences. And I write about characters I have no chance of understanding. So I just finished revisions on a short story about an Ethiopian immigrant who runs into his past. At the grocery store, he comes across a woman who witnessed anContinue reading “Responsible Fiction: Toe to Toe with Difference”

Revision as Sculpture

A lot of students have come to me lately with papers deep in revision. “I’m really sorry for the mess,” they say. They set down a packet of stapled pages, all scrawled over with notes. Entire lines crossed out. Marginalia thicker than printed text. “Can you still read it?” “Are you kidding?” I ask them. “ThisContinue reading “Revision as Sculpture”