Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Well, I'm off to a semi-slow start but still...I'm sticking with it!
1. Wishin' and Hopin': Wally Lamb
2. Love Invents Us: Amy Bloom
3. Luckiest Girl Alive: Jessica Knoll
4. In Watermelon Sugar: Richard Brautigan
5. Shuttlecock: Graham Swift
6. I Was Amelia Earhart: Jane Mendelsohn
7. The Maytrees: Annie Dillard
8. Fates & Furies: Lauren Groff
9. There's Something I Want You to Do: Charles Baxter
10. The Story of Land and Sea: Katy Simpson Smith
11. Never Die: Barry Hannah
12. The Narrow Road to the Deep North: Richard Flanagan (still reading)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: "What Could Be Said About Pedris Road" by Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman's look into the mind and actions of a child dealing with sexual abuse in "What Could be Said About Pedris Road" is remarkable in the way it weaves into and out of the subconscious mind of a little girl who, from the outset, appears to be speaking to a counselor. The narration is rich in detail and the dialogue used to convey the voice of the main character is very well done.

My reaction to this piece was to want to spend more time talking to my children.  This story leaves the reader worried about all of the things children don't say...what the not saying of those things means for us all.  If you haven't read Ru Freeman, do...sentences like this one make it worth the time:

"The neighbor had once screamed her way into their bathroom with a gagging daughter and her mother had placed her mouth of the child's nose and mouth and sucked out wads of phlegm that she spat on the floor, large gelatinous yellow pods of mucous, and brought her back to life.  She had a birthday party when she was five and won a blue watering can in a school race when she came second and she had to yell the correct pronunciation of her name into the microphone next to the nuns."

For more, a link to the story online is here:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: "Black and White" by Lidia Yuknavitch

"I am speaking precisely the body of it."

From this sensual piece by Yuknavitch, the statement says it all.  A woman explores her own sexuality with another woman, in front of a camera, and finds she is not afraid of it.  The straightforward manner in which the narrator, in the first person, makes her case is startling perhaps but quite breathtaking.

It's not porn you are reading when you read this story, the narrator warns, or rather cautions. There is nothing dramatized about it. There's no music, no high heels or red lipstick.  It quietly slips along, scene by scene, movement by movement, an accounting of a moment fixed in time both by the narrator's memory and by the photographs taken by her lover.

Yuknavitch definitely speaks the body of it in this story.  Endlessly.

Here's a link to the story online for your reading pleasure:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" by William Gay

A meth head struggles with managing the disappointments in his life, some caused by the drug use, some that preceded it.  There are the places in town where he is no longer welcome.  There are his run ins with law enforcement.  Finally, there's his ex-girlfriend who, after being abused by her new boyfriend, winds up dead, shot in the face at close range, only to have a closed casket funeral, just one more way that in a sick turn of events, Jeepster, the main character, is shielded from the damage precipitated by his choices.

This story is one rich in images you can't soon forget:

"rat tunneling in secret trespass through the upholstery"

"the click of forks and knives, the quickstep rubber-soled waitresses sliding china across Formica"

"a black spotted salamander crouched on its delicate rot feet and watched him with eyes like bits of obsidian"

This one gets a definite HELL YEAH from me on the recommendation front.  So much is right about the writing for so much to be wrong about its detailed predicaments.

Here's a link to the short story online for your reading pleasure:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: "Transit Bed" by Italo Calvino

From the Postwar Stories section of his collection titled DIFFICULT LOVES, Italo Calvino gives us the story "Transit Bed," a look into the comings and goings of men from every class through the bed of Armanda, a voluptuous woman whose husband nightly relinquishes his post for the sake of her "work."

Calvino paints a vivid picture of the lengths to which one married couple will go to stay safe in the aftermath of war.  There is no emotion.  There is only necessity.  The writing matches this theme, and I like how sparse but to the point Calvino keeps the narrative.  

This one gets a 3 out of 5 for me...a lovely start to this reading project.

Short Storying it Up!

It's time to revisit the short story a day project I started in 2012--READ ONE, REVIEW ONE


To start things off, the first week will go a little something like this:

August 1:  "Transit Bed" by Italo Calvino

August 2:  "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" by William Gay

August 3: "Black and White" by Lidia Yuknavitch

August 4:  "What Could Be Said About Pedris Road" by Ru Freeman

August 5:  "The Little Knife" by Michael Chabon

August 6:  "The Case for Psychic Distance" by Jennifer Hanno

August 7: "Neighbours" by Tim Winton

Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 is here...let's READ!!

2015 Reading--off to a decent start
1. Damage--Josephine Hart
2. For the Time Being-- Annie Dillard
3. All the Light We Cannot See-Anthony Doerr 
4. The Comfort of Strangers- Ian McEwan
5. The Alchemist- Paolo Coelho
6. Mangos, Bananas, and Coconuts- Himilce Novas

7. The Boys of the Dark-Robin Gaby Fisher
(currently reading-SOOO very good, a great creative non-fiction look at the tragedy that was the Arthur C. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Reading Again...Trying To...Hopefully

Okay, here's where I'm at as of my last post from August:

19.  Outlander-Diana Gabaldon

20. The Sisters Brothers-Patrick DeWitt

21. Sharp Objects-Gillian Flynn

3 novels

That's something right?  I read 3 novels in 2 months...I shouldn't be disappointed in myself, I know, I shouldn't, but REALLY?  I've gotta make some time...gonna read the HADES out of this next novel...oh yeah, starting...uh...soon, real soon...really...I am.

Next Up:  Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers


So, I am officially a published short story least of one story thank to the good folks at Word Riot.  Here is a link to the story...ENJOY!

(more comments to follow, too ecstatic right now to type properly)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Reading Update--what what?

here's where I'm at as of my last post:

14.  And the Mountains Echoed-Khaled Housseni

15.  Divergent-Veronica Roth

16.  Insurgent-Veronica Roth

17.  The Wide and Starry Sky-Nancy Horan

18.  Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn

Currently Reading:  Outlander-Diana Gabaldon

Time to step it up a notch people!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Little Reading Engine that Could

Trying for at least 30 reads this year...I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can


1.   The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

2.   The Fault in our Stars by John Green

3.   Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal

4.   The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

5.   The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

6.   Panic Blood by Catherine Texier

7.   Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

8.   The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

9.   The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

10. Dancer by Colum McCann

11. The Final Solution by Michael Chabon

12. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

13. White Girls by Hilton Als (reading currently)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Beast that was April...


I should just leave it at that.  I should.  I could.  But I won't.

I won't because surviving a month like this one:

- during which I crammed in two jury trials in federal court where I fought the big bad State of Florida for discriminating against the little people

- during which I read three novels (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley, and Dancer by Colum McCann)

- during which I wrote probably the best piece of short fiction of my life and was nearly published FINALLY for a different short story I'd submitted in January and in which bayonets and a stampede over clearance priced alarm clocks are both prominently featured

-during which I released my first novel into the world for others to read...or not...published online under a pen name to keep my former ME distinct and apart from the current ME, at least when it comes to my writing style, subject matter, and audience (totally unnerving and exciting and vulnerability exposing)

-during which I ran my first race in nearly a year (along with my three young daughters, a troop of boy scouts, and an enormous pack of recently mange free rescue dogs)

This is a survival you talk about, one you record in the dusty pages of your memory, alongside your recollections of the recent farmer's market and how it felt to pass it by without stopping and how it felt to realize you didn't talk about a month like this past April so that later, when your free hours are even fewer than now, you will think fondly on the time as "not so bad" as if being "not so bad" is an objective state of being...but it's not...

Still, at least I survived...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New--reading updates

So, here's how 2013 went down...

1. The Paper Men- William Golding
2. Tinkers- Paul Harding
3. Wild- Cheryl Strayed
4. The Long March- William Styron
5. Reading Lolita in Tehran- Azar Nafisi
6. Everyman- Philip Roth
7. Border Crossing- Pat Barker
8. Beasts- Joyce Carol Oates
9. Ironweed- William Kennedy
10. The Misalliance- Anita Brookner
11. The Rum Diary- Hunter S. Thompson
12. As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner
13. Point Omega- Don Delillo
14. A Lesson Before Dying- Ernest Gaines
15. Bel Canto- Ann Patchett
16. A Sport and a Pastime -James Salter
17. Blood Meridian-Cormac McCarthy
18. Loving Frank- Lisa Horan
19. Orphan Master's Son- Adam Johnson
20. Mother Mother Night -Kurt Vonnegut
21. Rapture-Susan Susan Minot
22. The Body Artist-Don Delillo
23. Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins 

Now, here's where I'm at so far in 2014:


1. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
2. The Fault in Our Starts by John Green
3. Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal
4. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid


5. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss 

6. Panic Blood by Catherine Texier


7. Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

8. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt...a big ole book but from what I hear, totally worth it...CHEERS Y'ALL!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reading Update---how did I manage this?

By the end of April, I'd read 15 novels in the year 2013.  But, then I got busy with a wedding and with moving and starting a new job and well, my reading slowed down a bit. Still, I managed a few more novels since that time and for sake of keeping track, here's what my continued reading has looked like:

16. A Sport and a Pastime James Salter
17. Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy
18. Loving Frank Lisa Horan
19. Orphan Master's Son Adam Johnson (almost done)
20. Mother Night Kurt Vonnegut

I'm not sure what I'll read next but I'd like to make December a reading month.  After spending the month of November writing, it will be time to catch my breath with a novel or two...or more, at least I can hope!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNo...oh no

I totally just wrote over 3,000 words today.  I'm stoked...take that Mr. Negative Thoughts Making Me Think My Writing is Over and Done With...ha, I'm so back.


Okay...back to the word count peoples!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fits and Starts...and Resets

I am rounding out the month of October with this last batch of short stories in hopes that it will give me the UMPF I need to get my November writing on...

Thomas Pynchon-"Entropy"
Michael Farris Smith- "I am Not a Rock Star"
Nikolai Gogol- "The Overcoat"
Charlotte Perkins Gillman- "The Yellow Wallpaper"
O'Henry- "The Thing's the Play"
Netta Syrett- "Thy Heart's Desire"
Seamus Scanlon- "The Long Wet Grass"

Mixing some flash fiction in to spice things up, I think this might do the trick with only one week left...BRING IT!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Preparations-short storying it up


Okay, so, maybe not but I plan on writing something, something substantial, and until then, I will have spent October trying to get myself into the right frame of mind, to get my brain working in sentences that DO NOT contain arguments.  It's a struggle, my job zaps it out of me at times but it only takes a paragraph, or a George Saunders sentence like "an empty rocking chair rocks faster than any mortal granny could" and I remember how to do it, or at least how to think about doing it.

Writing it is different.  I've piddled with a few short shorts over the last week to get my fingers accustomed to moving in time with the creative bursts of thought that I hope will get me from word to word and I have to admit that I'm getting excited thanks to the short stories from these authors:

Adam Johnson- "The History of Cancer"
Kim Brooks- "Year's Time"
Penelope Fitzgerald- "The Prescription"
Donald Barthelme- "The School"
Alice Munro- "Free Radicals"
George Saunders- "A Lack of Order in the Floating Object Room"
James Joyce- "Araby"
Judith Merrill- "That Only a Mother"
Lawrence Scott- "Chameleon"
Jay McInerney- "Con Doctor"
Ferroll Sams- "Harmony Ain't Easy"

Today, I'm tackling Roddy Doyle's story "Teaching" which can be found here:


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Novels? What are those?

I got married.

I moved to a different city.

I started a new job.

I inherited a two new dogs and a step-daughter., did I read much in the last two months? The answer to that question is clear, right...right?

I tackled Cormac McCarthy's novel, Blood Meridian, and am now finishing Loving Frank by Lisa Horan.

Next up is Adam Johnson's Orphan Master's Son. After that, I don't know. I need to write more. Work needs to slow down. My life needs to help me out a little...seriously...thank goodness for a loving and supportive husband.

That's right...I got married!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Whatever Happened to my Glasses?

I didn't realize how much I relied on my reading glasses (the cheap over the counter magnifying kind 2.00+) until I lost every pair and tried to spend the last two weeks of May reading without them. Here is what it was like:

1. This loss was beyond frustrating made more frustrating by the fact that I could never seem to remember to buy a replacement pair.

2. When I did find a pair much to my excitement, I realized that the lens' had been scratched by either my children or by beach sand in my purse where yes, I let my glasses beat around without a case to protect them.

3. I found myself resorting to short stories instead of digging into novels because I'd have to stop after every 5-10 pages and let my eyes rest. So, where I'd started reading Look Homeward Angel before I lost my glasses, I couldn't return to the novel until now. Instead, I read a few short stories from Claire Vaye Watkins collection Battleborn and I also read a few of Terry Southern's stories from his collection, Red Dirt Marijuana.

4. The only novel I did tackle was James Salter's A Sport and a Pastime which, because of the "steamy" subject matter, I read despite my weary eyes.

All of this said, I was surprised to see how my lack of reading glasses affected my reading choices. But, I got my cateyes back and I'm now elbow deep into Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and I have to say, it feels good to have the novel back within my grasp.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Locomotion Commotion

My title to this post is sappy. Yes, I know, but with the amount of time I've spent researching arboreal locomotion lately in an effort to, for some reason, incorporate a sugar glider into a short story of mine, this fixation and the resulting corniness can only be expected. I've learned a lot but these are two facts that stick out to me:

- squirrels have reversible feet, ie, their ankles allow their feet to swivel 360 degrees
- prehensile tails in many animals that live in trees actually have an adhesive patch on the tip

Oh, the movements and adaptations of the various animals that I've studied are more than enough fodder for fiction...the imagery and symbolism and sheer wonder of these creatures and their ability to conduct arboreal locomotion is good stuff, the kind of stuff you won't soon forget after reading. See for yourself.

The fiction that has flowed so far is here, incomplete, but on its way to being something...I think...

Facts like, the ins and outs of arboreal locomotion, a tree to tree
movement that kept the animals safe from predators and
with easy access to otherwise unreachable food. To have that
life, Rae Ann thought, the nights of a marsupial with membranous hands,
curled into its mother’s pouch when the flying was over. Did they know
about the torpor they’d experience too? Did they know it before it
happened to them? Rae Ann would rather hibernate. The distinction was one
without meaning.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Big Read

So, April was a banner reading month for me particularly given how busy my schedule has been otherwise...and with that in mind, here is what I've been up to:

For now, here is how my 2013 reading year is shaping up:

1. The Paper Men William Golding
2. Tinkers Paul Harding
3. Wild Cheryl Strayed
4. The Long March William Styron
5. Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nafisi
6. Everyman Philip Roth
7. Border Crossing" Pat Barker
8. Beasts Joyce Carol Oates
9. Ironweed William Kennedy
10. The Misalliance Anita Brookner
11. The Rum Diary Hunter S. Thompson

April Reading:

12. As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
13. Point Omega Don Delillo
14. A Lesson Before Dying Ernest Gaines
15. Bel Canto Ann Patchett

Currently, I am reading, FINALLY, Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel. Yep...I've avoided this book for the last 3 years and it's time. It's calling me. The first two paragraphs stop you and you read them again and again and you feel drawn in, at least I did. There's something waiting for me in this novel and I'm scared and excited at the same time to find out what it is. Here's how the novel begins. Judge for yourself.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Short Story Review: Nelson Algren's "how the devil came down division street"

I have a review that went up today on the wonderful website,

A link to my review is available at the link below. Next up, I'll be reviewing a short story by American writer, Terry Southern. Thanks for reading folks!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Faulkner and DeLillo

I spent the last two weeks reading these two literary heavyweights, between William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" and Don DeLillo's short novel, "Point Omega" and while the difference between the writing styles and subject matter could not be more stark, somehow the transition between the two voices was a smooth one. Both works had a distinct vision and regardless of how that vision was expressed in words, I felt both authors achieved a sort of "beyondness" to the story, writing outside of the expected realm usually inhabited by fiction, particularly American fiction, at least in my thinking.

My expectations with Faulkner were understandably high but I didn't have any expectations one way or the other with DeLillo. So, I was impressed and as a result have spent a considerable amount of time researching the studies and writings of the Jesuit thinker and paleontologist [Pierre] Teilhard de Chardin, a huge influence on DeLillo's writing and basic philosophy.

And THIS is why I read literature, for the rabbit holes, for the tunnels into nowhere or better yet, into everywhere. I mean really, a Jesuit could I not take the bait, google it and google it and google it some more?? I'm hooked on these two novelists and although these authors are not often talked about alongside one another, there is something about them that meshes and I'm ready for Round Two with these grizzly bears so that I can discover what that something is.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Quarter Down

As I closed out my first quarter of the year, I read two novels in its last week which has me super proud except for the fact that it slowed down my writing for that week.

But, but it was sunny outside and there was a slight breeze and, there was this great lawn chair where I got to sit by this great guy while he read and wrote and soaked up the sun, yeah, I read my butt off for the last week, especially over the weekend, adding books ten and eleven to my list for the year's reading thus far!

Here's to next quarter!

For now, here is how my 2013 reading year is shaping up:

1. "The Paper Men" William Golding
2. "Tinkers" Paul Harding
3. "Wild" Cheryl Strayed
4. "The Long March" William Styron
5. "Reading Lolita in Tehran" Azar Nafisi
6. "Everyman" Philip Roth
7. "Border Crossing" Pat Barker
8. "Beasts" Joyce Carol Oates
9. "Ironweed" William Kennedy
10. "The Misalliance" Anita Brookner
11. "The Rum Diary" Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Philip Roth at 80...still relevant, still randy

March 19, 2013, the 80th birthday of one of greatest living American writers, if not THE greatest of our time. Philip Roth, having just retired from the profession, is still racking up awards and shocking readers and his many admirers by retiring and by not apologizing for it or for the thousands and thousands of words he left behind. I could post link after link of articles and interviews to celebrate his achievement but that's been done before and will be done today and in the future several times over and with the recent PBS documentary covering his life and his writing, there will only be more interest in Philip Roth, as if the prospect of "more" makes sense to this man anymore. (see link below for information on the documentary)

For me, on a day like today, I like to look back at my reading and focus on the books of his I loved, the ones that I loved because I experienced them alone and years after they were written, alone with only my brain and my life experiences to guide my judgment, alone with the books themselves and the world created by Roth, worlds often times more depraved than I could have imagined. For example, the experience of reading "Sabbath's Theater" won't soon leave me. But that novel is no surprise, right? A sexual deviant finger puppeteer is bound to have some tantalizing adventures and mishaps. The book won critical acclaim and is considered by some, me included, to be Roth's best novel. Roth himself has the novel in his top 5.

But, there is one of his novels that I always recommend to others and have found few who would read it. For me, it was "Deception" one of Roth's most experimental novels in that it is comprised almost entirely of dialogue with literally only a handful of actual paragraphs to keep the story moving. Published in 1990, the story is told from the point of view of Philip Roth and tracks his conversations with various women before and after sex. Despite this approach, I still felt connected to the women in the story and found the novel both misogynistic and strangely empowering at the same time.

This underrated and infrequently mentioned novel is definitely worth the read for anyone who hasn't read Philip Roth or for anyone who has and still doesn't know what he or she is missing. So on his birthday, I celebrate his writing, ALL of it and while I could spend more time on the Roth canon, I think stopping with
"Deception" is just fine. I mean, I REALLY REALLY REALLY want some other folks to read this damn book so I can talk about it with them!!






Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Writing...and Cleopatra

847 words on Saturday, new words, pretty damn good words if you ask me,and yes, hours of Cleopatra research for my daughter. I'm not sure what prompted her interest in the subject but I have to say, having a conversation with a 7 year old about obilesks and hippodromes and asps was not only thrilling, but totally rewarding. That she and her sister and her soon to be step sister all then snuggled into bed with their journals to "write" before bed made the time I'd spent writing earlier in the day that much sweeter.

It's nice for a change to not feel guilty about the words, about the time those words took from some place else. Now if I can only get them to appreciate the fine art of washing dishes...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Joyce Carol huh?

By way of a reading update, since my last post I've read several novels and thanks to my fiance, I've read some great poems, poems which I've discovered all have references to the wings of a fly in them. Not sure what that is all about but I feel that question and its answer could have its own blogpost so, I'll get to that later.

For now, here is how my 2013 reading year is shaping up:

1. "The Paper Men" William Golding
2. "Tinkers" Paul Harding
3. "Wild" Cheryl Strayed
4. "The Long March" William Styron
5. "Reading Lolita in Tehran" Azar Nafisi
6. "Everyman" Philip Roth
7. "Border Crossing" Pat Barker
8. "Beasts" Joyce Carol Oates
9. "Ironweed" William Kennedy

Of these books, I feel compelled to discuss Joyce Carol Oates' novella that was strangely intoxicating despite being completely unbelievable. I didn't want to like the story even after the first few pages but the writing was top notch and there were passages that were beautiful even if out of place. Maybe that is why I am disappointed in this novella. "Beasts" as a concept in the story is overwrought and ultimately falls flat, the reader left wondering whether the author knew she was missing the subtlety and honesty one would expect from her work. The novella, because it was fast paced with a singular focus on a bizarre student/teacher affair, felt rushed and dirty.

I wanted to wash my hands after reading this. I wanted to find a pair of flame retardant pajamas. I wanted to sink into my couch with a rolled up towel over my eyes to not have to worry about being burned or seeing headless totems and mangled nudes across the room, sitting naked on a stool in my kitchen, or drinking my drug spiked wine.

Mostly, I wanted to forget this book because every part of me told me not to like it, that I shouldn't like it. BUT I DID and I can't fully comprehend what that says about me if it says anything at all.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ideas to return to...or not

There is a time for writing and time for research and I'm in that mode where my research is taking over. First it was cross drift stabilization, then it was liquefaction. Now, I'm researching the origins of the crimson winged flamingo.

Two years ago, I spent a good deal of time studying nasturtiums and spotted jewelweeds and other varieties of flowers that I thought would be useful in my writing. I'm always amazed at where my research takes me but the one thing I can't deny is that my reading is what starts the search.



I said to my fiance yesterday, "I stepped on your capo" and was immediately struck by how random that sentence was and also by the sheer wonder of having that sentence as a part of my speaking life. But for him, I would never have thought of such a thing, even if it may seem to be a small thing.

All of that said, I've added the cloaca and capo to my research list once I finish with the danged ole crimson winged flamingo. What I'll take from all of this research? Who knows. It doesn't matter. I'm just along for the trek.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

An Observation on Propensity- The Word "So"

So...I have a propensity to start blog posts with the word "SO"

I just noticed this today after going back and looking over my last several posts, mostly from 2013. Now, instead of analyzing what I'm reading or getting some new words written on my novel, I'm dwelling on this issue that has reared its ugly head as of late. It crept up on me, I swear it but, after researching this online, I discovered much to my amazement that this is a growing trend among the masses.

Ha! Just when I thought I was a total grammar flunkie, this article gave me hope that I can change and that until then, I can embrace this overused word, own it really for at least a few more blogs posts!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writing Days-Where's the Sunshine?

So, I've been writing A LOT lately. Mostly fiction and the occasional poem, but even so, it's only when I get a stretch of words and sentences and paragraphs together without thinking about it that I feel warm inside, like my little light is glowing and it's all I can do to keep it "under a bushel".

I don't share enough of my fiction. I don't get enough honest opinions about the quality. I don't submit enough to even attempt at calling myself a "writer."

That leads me to the question of "who is a writer?" Is it someone who writes for a living, for enjoyment, or maybe on the off chance, for both? As for me, my day job does not make me feel particularly writerly but it does give me a certain amount of fodder for the imagination. Being a personal injury attorney really does give me a vast knowledge of the bizarre that most "writers" would envy. So...why can't I use it, the wealth of information regarding peculiar injuries, methods of injury, strange recoveries and medical procedures that I've gained over the last 10 years in my legal practice?

Is it a fear of violation of privacy that keeps me from doing it? No, it's not. I've thought a lot about this and after my sister urged me to write a novel from the point of view of a female attorney, I finally realized exactly WHY I haven't done it yet.

I DON'T FIND MY JOB ALL THAT EXCITING!! (and for the first time in 10 years, I can't understand why I don't)

So...I'm going to try and write "what I know" and see how that goes. Here is what I've gotten so far. And please, excuse me for my lack of reverence. I've seen it all, argued it all, and made good use of it all in my professional life. Now, it's time for me to see how it works in fiction. Here we go:

"Liability is about what you can prove. Give me a rear end collision or falling merchandise case and I'll show you what a jury can do with damages. Just don't give me a squirrely client who exaggerates his pain in hopes of a payday after slipping in a puddle of oil while walking from his car to the bathroom of the super lube.

Come one come all ye who are hurting with a story to tell. I am the one you can hire to write you into existence to correct the wrongs for everyone to see. Juries have always loved me, my short skirts and southern drawl , and my verdicts have provided proof that sometimes persuasion conquers all. Screw the evidence and open your checkbook. Progressive and Allstate don't have nothing on me."

February Reading Update

Okay, I finished "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed and then went straight into the novella "The Long March" by William Styron. Now, I'm really getting into "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi. The concept itself is enough to keep me interested in the memoir even if the writing is "less literary" than I normally read. I have a feeling though that this one will grow on me as I continue. The great thing about this memoir is that it, like "Wild" is making me rethink my year's reading list, both memoirs relying heavily on literature to get these women through tough times.

When I started reading these, I had no idea the common thread would be there but it has allowed me to focus on my reading, to analyze what it does for me, a purpose perhaps beyond enjoyment and enlightenment!

Until next post, I'll be thinking about this...a lot!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013: Ready, Set, READ!

So, January is almost over but that's okay. I've written almost 3,000 words so far and I've read the first two novels to start my year:

1. The Paper Men- William Golding
2. Tinkers- Paul Harding

Currently, I'm reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed and am gradually making my way through Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" on my ipad. Being pulled in so many directions these days but even so, managing to get my words in and out.

Updates on my writing coming soon. SOON!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Novels Read...slacker?

So, I didn't finish a short story a day for a year but damnit, I made it to August. That's a lot of short stories but still, I feel like a bit of a failure. Nonetheless, as I start the New Year, I am ready to begin anew. So, here is the list of novels I read in 2012 to perhaps convince you that, while I didn't read a short story a day as I'd hoped, I wasn't such a slacker after all.

1. Hummingbird House- Patricia Henley
2. A Visit from the Goon Squad-Jennifer Egan
3. On Chesil Beach-Ian McEwan
4. The Flute Player-DM Thomas
5. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet-Jamie Ford
6. The Dylanist-Brian Morton
7. Boomerang- Barry Hannah
8. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins
9. Fifty Shades of Grey- E.L. James
10. Ray-Barry Hannah
11. In One Person-John Irving
12. Fifty Shades Darker-E.L. James
13. Fay-Larry Brown
14. City of the Mind-Penelope Lively
15. Story of the Eye- George Bataille
16. Tristessa-Jack Kerouac
17. Monkeys-Susan Minot
18. Nemesis-Philip Roth
19. Chronicle of a Death Foretold-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
20. Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
21. Eating Pavlova-DM Thomas

Cheers! Now, on to this year's reading!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week Thirty-Five Short Story Selections

Day Two Hundred Thirty-Nine: "Otter" by Jill Peacock
Day Two Hundred Forty: "Gotta Dance" by Jackson Jodie Daviss
Day Two Hundred Forty-One: "Prance Williams Swims Again" by Matt Devens
Day Two Hundred Forty-Two: "Believer's Flood" by Richard Currey
Day Two Hundred Forty-Three:
Day Two Hundred Forty-Four:
Day Two Hundred Forty-Five:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week Thirty-Four Short Story Selections

Day Two Hundred Thirty-Two: "The Fly" by James Pendergrast
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Three: "The Juggler" by Ursula Hegi
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Four: "A Letter to Andrei" by Benjamin Dean
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Five: "The Vote" by David Long
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Six: "How to Electrocute and Elephant" by David Edgerly Gates
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Seven: "A Voice from Somewhere Else" by Benjamin Anastas
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Eight: "Address Unknown" by Kressman Taylor

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day Two Hundred Thirty: "Llado" by Stephen Skipp


A man has a conversation and relationship with a painting. The man is clearly an artist, perhaps one who is going mad. This story was quite brilliant and at times, the reader forgets that this is not a story about two people.

The line "You’d be surprised just how comforting a frame can be, when a frame is what you need" is perfect and is a line that not only defines this piece but is a great BIG picture sort of statement about life. This was a well written and clever piece that I would recommend to curious readers.

A link to the story online can be found here:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twenty-Nine: "Helen's Hands" by Taran Burns


A woman recounts all of the things she has used her hands for over the course of her lifetime and she regrets at the end of her life all of the things her hands never got to do. This was a short and sad look at a woman's life from childhood to senior adulthood. There is a loneliness to this story that draws the reader in from the beginning. I also think it was the perfect length. A longer story would have felt "telly" but this was just right.

A link to the story online can be found here:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twenty-Eight: "The Cleaner" by Timothy Barrera


A man gets involved as the "cleanup" man for the murders and accidental kilings of a punk of a mob family. How he got there, he doesn't know. There is a part of this story where the narrator contemplates his situation but overall, it's mostly about the WHAT that has happened as opposed to the WHY and I think that is what makes this story less literary somehow but yet, more effective.

I wish this piece had had more to it. Otherwise, I have no complaints of any kind. A link to the story online is here:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twenty-Seven: "Back to the Garden" by Elizabeth Beechwood


A woman recounts meeting her love, a hippie, and how that love evolves into a family with a daughter who, despite being the offspring of love and peace and freedom, takes to popularity, and politics, and the restrictions of the law that her parents had fought against. It is the story of a mother and how she comes to terms with who and what her daughter has become and how, through grandchildren, she can almost, even if in her own mind only, start again. Brilliant!

A link to the story online is here:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twenty-Six: "Formation" by Kim Chinquee

Conformity. Pain.

A group of young adults, male and female, react to being forced into a combat situation. There is fear, compliance, and a subtlety about the way in which the youngsters respond to the commands presented that make this piece much deeper than its brevity in word count implies.

This was an interesting read. I have a feeling it would take me a few times to really grasp what is happening here even though on the surface this story seems very simple.

A link to the story online is here:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week Thirty-Three Short Story Selections

Day Two Hundred Twenty-Five: "Corruptionists" by Ethel Rohan
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Six: "Formation" by Kim Chinquee
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Seven: "Back to the Garden" by Elizabeth Beechwood
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Eight: "The Cleaner" by Timothy Barrera
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Nine: "Helen's Hands" by Taran Burns
Day Two Hundred Thirty: "Llado" by Stephen Skipp
Day Two Hundred Thirty-One: "Why do They Lie to Me?" by Rohini Gupta

Day Two Hundred Twenty-Five: "Corruptionists" by Ethel Rohan


Daughters pray for their mother's healing and realize only too late that the prayer was misguided. Their mother is in pain, is a burden on others and herself. There is nothing to do but acknowledge the mistake. The rest is reality. It's brutal but it is what they have. A brilliant story if you ask me. Nice job!

A link to the story online can be found here:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twenty-One: "A Death in the Woods" by William Gay


A man and his wife get involved in the investigation of a man found dead in the woods by their house. Was it murder? Was it suicide? What did his life mean if it meant anything? Why? The overarching question was "why"?

I liked this story in that it moved quickly but at times it was hard to follow since it lacked many dialogue tags. Several times I had to go back and make sure I knew who was talking and that for me is just too distracting, particularly in a short story like this where I don't have hundreds of pages of a certain voice to develop my own recognition upon reading. I do admire what the writer was trying to do with this but in the end, it made me not want to keep reading and I lost interest about halfway through it.

This makes me sad because I had high hopes for this writer. Maybe a different short story would yield different results for me. I'll try again to see if I can't be persuaded...but I won't be trying right now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twenty: "Every Tongue Shall Confess" by ZZ Packer


Drama unfolds in a southern church where women are obviously looked down upon and objectified and where secrets are kept about them and between them in order to protect a few of the elders of the church.

This short story was a bit long for my taste, particularly when I didn't feel that the length did anything to add to the story necessarily. However, the use of voice was wonderful here even if the story itself lost my interest. I'd give this author another chance just for that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day Two Hundred Nineteen: "Jellyfish" by Danielle Evans


A girl waits for her father in a cafe and he is running late, late as usual, and while she waits she recalls various moments from her last week or so of her life. There is heartbreak, disappointment, happiness, all full of the reality that she knows her father still can't face, a reality he is always running late to get to.

The language used in this story was refreshing and the pace was steady, pulling the reader in. I can see why Ms. Evans is getting so much attention as a young African American writer. A fresh perspective never gets old.

Nice job!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day Two Hundred Eighteen: "You Can't Kill the Rooster" by David Sedaris


A man recalls his brother's relationship with their father, a relationship that should have been strained at best because of the conservative nature of the father in comparison to the gregariousness of the brother, the one who refers to himself as "the rooster."

The depiction of this loving and strange family dynamic is full of vivid details and is easily readable, bordering addictive. Anyone who hasn't read Sedaris could start with this story and not look back, wouldn't be able to.

Well done!

Week Thirty-Two Short Story Selections

Day Two Hundred Eighteen: "You Can't Kill the Rooster" by David Sedaris
Day Two Hundred Nineteen: "Jellyfish" by Danielle Evans
Day Two Hundred Twenty: "Every Tongue Shall Confess" by ZZ Packer
Day Two Hundred Twenty-One: "A Death in the Woods" by William Gay
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Two: "New York is a Girl" by Robert Sand
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Three: "The Greatest Thing in the World" by Norman Mailer
Day Two Hundred Twenty-Four: "Moving House" by Pawel Huelle

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day Two Hundred Seventeen: "Letter from the Understudy" by Kathryn Simmonds

Focus. Disturbed.

An understudy writes a letter anonymously about how he gradually poisoned the actor he was shadowing in order to get his shot at the spotlight. It works at first but just when the understudy is about to get his chance to really shine, the night when critics will be there to see him, the actor himself decides to perform despite a fever. This is when the story turns dark and the understudy resorts to a more obvious form of violence, taking a bat to the actor in order to keep him from performing.

Of course, the irony is that the actions of the understudy result in him going into hiding and thus stripping him of the very opportunity he had been seeking. This was quite a sinister and well written story and unlike any I've read so far.

Nice job!

A link to the story online is here:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day Two Hundred Sixteen: "Red from Green" by Maile Meloy


A young girl goes on weekend camping and fishing trips with her father and uncle while they prep witnesses for a big legal claim. The star witness is clearly taken with the teenage daughter of his attorney and as the story progresses, the reader gets a sense of how quickly one's innocence is shattered and how terrifying and tantalizing the prospect of losing that innocence can be for a girl at a certain age.

The conclusion to this very nicely written story is contemplative and yet realistic. There is no idealism to this. It is strangely a black and white sort of tale in its own way. The point: Some things you don't mess with. Some things really are too good to touch.

I loved this story. I won't be forgetting this one.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day Two Hundred Fifteen: "Blind" by Ann Fischer


A woman marries a man that she loves even though not really in love with him. He makes sense, is a good match. He inspires her. However, shortly after their marriage, he seems to fall apart. He quits his job, flounders from one endeavor to another and when he finally seems to find his niche, operating an interior design business, he closes shop and retires to bed.

The wife works more. He sleeps more. The marriage is on the rocks when the story ends but the reader gets the sense that things will turn around eventually...or perhaps, the reader is as blind as the narrator to the truth of the matter. There may be no turning back.

A link to the story online is here:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day Two Hundred Fourteen: "Big Alabama and the Chained Refrigerator" by James Valvis


A girl whose parents are worried she is gaining too much weight chain their refrigerator shut and then cut out their daughter's lunch. But...she doesn't lose weight. It doesn't make sense. The family is perplexed, convinced she must be stealing lunches from other kids at school. But one night at dinner, her brother figures it out. The dog food is being devoured at an alarming weight. His sister's cry for help a simple frown across the table. How sad a story...such desperation that cannot be discussed and as equally cannot be explained.

A link to the story online can be found here:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day Two Hundred Thirteen: "You Are Here" by Chris Wiewiora

A man recounts riding motorcycles with Brian and how upon learning about his friend's death, he considers driving his cycle into a wall. This was a really short piece of flash fiction but it worked. There is just enough emotion in this to make it powerful and sad. Nice job as a continuation of this story about "Brian" and what he meant to various different people.

A link to the story online is here:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day Two Hundred Twelve: "Tunneling" by Gene Albamonte

The narrator thinks about Brian, a friend who has died and how they spent time together throwing tennis balls against the wall and Brian's theory about the tennis ball "tunneling" through space, through matter. This was a very interesting start to this 15 part serial story and it definitely made me want to read more. It personalized Brian in a way that I can tell he'll be central to some of the stories to come as well. Nice job!

A link to the story online can be found here:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day Two Hundred Eleven: "Last Night" by James Salter


A man and his wife make a pact to help the wife commit suicide by morphine injection. On her last night, the man and his wife go to a fancy restaurant, buy an expensive wine, all to make sure her last evening is a memorable one, a fitting way to end her life. But, the catch is that they don't want to do it alone so they take a young girl that the woman had met in a gardening class. The young woman was to be the witness, the person to keep the husband from being alone once the assisted suicide was complete.

This was the setup.

But...something goes wrong. The man gives his wife the injection and she drifts away. He goes back downstairs to the young girl and he basically forces her to have sex with him but in the end, she seems to consent and they wake up the next morning in a sort of agreement about their relationship. They are content, having coffee when the wife stumbles down the staircase, the assisted suicide having apparently failed.

This was the downfall. The man loses the girl at this point, a girl who realizes that her connection to this man is now shattered. It's sick and twisted in a way but when the reader realizes that this man will have to go through this again and alone to boot, it's actually rather sad.

From a writing standpoint, this story was well written and there was a flow about it that made it seem much shorter upon reading than it actually was. Nice job by an author that I'll read more of.

A link to the story online is here:

Week Thirty-One Short Story Selections

Day Two Hundred Eleven: "Tunneling" by Gene Albamonte
Day Two Hundred Twelve: "We Are Here" by Wiewiora
Day Two Hundred Thirteen: "Last Night" by James Salter
Day Two Hundred Fourteen: "Big Alabama and the Chained Refrigerator" by James Valvis
Day Two Hundred Fifteen: "Blind" by Ann Fischer
Day Two Hundred Sixteen: "Red from Green" by Maile Meloy
Day Two Hundred Seventeen: "Letter from the Understudy" by Kathryn Simmonds

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Ten: "Death by Scrabble" by Charlie Fish


Life as a game. A man and his wife play Scrabble and he realizes as the game progresses that the words being played are somehow determining what is happening in his life during the actual game itself. He hates his wife. Wants her dead. But, life is a game, one that you may not always win...and where others may have tricks up their sleeves that you can't be prepared for.

The voice in this story was fantastic. Very clever piece. I'd read more by this author for sure.

A link to the story online can be found here:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Nine: "The Card" by James Ross


A young boy thinks back to getting a card from his absent father and how the card, for a 10 year old boy, was sorely lacking in that it warned the boy to watch his back because no one else will. This very short piece interestingly brings that idea to play as the reader sees what the narrator has gotten involved in and how that simple statement from a missing father to his son has shaped the adult life, the decisions he makes both consciously and subconsciously.

This was a well written story with beautiful lines that sum of the story such as:

"I have this theory that, to use the world is a flat thing we stand on, but to birds, it is a cliff they cling to, a huge ball and they cling to the side and then fall off and fly and glide."

Nice job by an author unknown to me. A link to the story online can be found here:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Eight: "A Box to Hide In" by James Thurber


WOW!!! This story was amazing. A man searches for a box to hide in. He approaches grocers, his cleaning lady, random people in stores but never finds a way out, a way to be a part of life without having be engaged with it.

He wants to hide away in a box but to be in a box that is still in a room, a part of things. He could hear the world around him, laugh at the things he hears but...all the while, not have to interact with it. He can simply "observe"...he can see and not be seen or hear and not be heard.

But the story ends and he is sad. He can't find a box big enough. There's too much of him. There's too much of everything!

WHAT A STORY! I absolutely loved the voice of the first person narrator of this one. I will be talking about this one for a while!

A link to the story online is here:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Seven:"Shiftless Little Loafers" by Susan Orlean


A woman ponders why infants do not have jobs and the result is a story that is both strange and on the verge of silliness yet, oddly profound. Work is what we make of it. Kids understand this. That is why they avoid it and why we envy what may otherwise seem like laziness and snobbery among babies being pushed around in strollers with everyone catering to their needs.

That is what we, as adults want. It is not really all that hard to imagine but we simply don't want to acknowledge it. After all, a grown up without a job is a slacker, immature, unable to contribute.

This story, while humorous and almost absurd, points out in a subtle way that we take ourselves and our careers way too seriously. We should all spend more time just "relaxing"...taking it all in when we can at the expense of the rest of them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Six: "The Question of a Feather" by Robert Frost


An expert on hens answers a letter written to him by a woman who breeds Minorca hens and pays her a visit. Little does he know that he will be confronted with an ethical dilemma. A hen bred to show has a feather on her leg and the breeder at the poultry farm asks for his advice.

He declines to answer but implies that the hen should be left as is, that while the temptation is there to make it "right"...and the fault is "so remediable" he still nudges the woman toward leaving the feather in place even when plucking it would change everything.

I thought this was a brilliant story and I could reread it over and over again. I'm very impressed by hit particularly since I didn't know that Frost wrote short stories. This alone has made my reading project worth it. Nice job.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Five: "Was it in His Hand?" by Elizabeth Bishop


Two women driving across the country in wintertime stop at an old farmhouse that has been converted into a palmreader's shop. For fun, they go in for a reading and what they find is both interesting and disturbing to them. They don't find the truth. They don't find any magic. They find a seemingly crazy black woman that appears to be holding a young white boy hostage.

It's as if this kid is the "muse" for the palmreader. The two women find the situation harmless but even so, as they leave the house after a strange afternoon with the woman and young boy, they step back into the harsh cold that the farmhouse was at least a refuse from.

There was something beautiful and eerie about this story. I can't quite put my finger on it just yet. Perhaps this is a blogpost I will revisit upon further contemplation. Nice work!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Four: "The Troubles" by Sheldon Compton

A link to the story online is here:

Week Thirty Short Story Selections

Day Two Hundred-Four: "The Troubles" by Sheldon Compton
Day Two Hundred-Five: "Was it in His Hand?" by Elizabeth Bishop
Day Two Hundred-Six: "The Question of a Feather" by Robert Frost
Day Two Hundred-Seven:"Shiftless Little Loafers" by Susan Orlean
Day Two Hundred-Eight: "A Box to Hide In" by James Thurber
Day Two Hundred-Nine: "The Card" by James Ross
Day Two Hundred-Ten: "Death by Scrabble" by Charlie Fish

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Three:"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty


A sniper searches out his target and finds great joy in the hunt and ultimate kill...only to realize by story's end that the person he has killed is his own brother.

The point at which the sniper realizes this, after risking his own safety in order to discover the identity of the dead person, is both startling and appropriate. Sometimes looks can be deceiving and you never know what is waiting for you if you take that shot.

A link to the story online can be found here:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Two: "The Use of Force" by William Carlos Williams


A doctor visits the family of a young girl that is sick but that won't let her parents look into her mouth. The doctor is almost certain what the problem is and with determination and some amount of force, he manages to get the girl's mouth open whereupon he discovers that she in fact has the illness he predicted.

The girl lives. The family is happy. The doctor was right. Moral of this simple but deep story: Sometimes others DO know better. Sometimes you have to FORCE that something better.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day Two Hundred-One: "Cloud" by Andrew Sullivan


A young boy and his friend battle the starlings that have taken over their town. "Shit" is everywhere and it's keeping people in their homes. Only these two kids are willing to fight to get rid of the "shit" while everyone else either runs away or makes plans to.

This was a literal story about friendship and overcoming the serious challenges presented by a swarm of birds that have terrorized a community and the challenge inserted into this friendship by one boy's mom's decision to abandon the problem rather than facing it. Metaphorically of course, this story says much more.

The longer you take to deal with the shit that is out there, it will only get deeper and stinkier and harder to get rid of. Those who try to deal with it are going to get nasty and they will be few and far between. Still...the idea is that one can only take so much "shit."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day Two Hundred: "Oasis" by Miles Klee


Written as a sort of news story, scientists discover that people enjoy spending time alone on their toilets. This was a very short short story and yet it was ironic and funny. I quite liked it.

The story can be found online here:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-Nine: "I'm Working on my Charm" by Dorothy Allison


A young Southern girl watches her mom and learns by example to waitress. The tips that are made, the ploys undertaken to get them, the judgments that are made about patrons and the bets the waitresses make regarding who will tip the most or the least make this story worth the read. There is a real distinction the mother in the story (and inherently the author herself) is making about Yankees versus Southerners.

It's a story about the type of hospitality and charm that both make and break young women in the South. This was a very smart and engaging read. Nice job by a fantastic southern female voice.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-Eight: "Respect" by Mary Gaitskill


A woman has a one night stand with a man 13 years her younger. When the story opens she is almost bashful at the thought of their night together but upon checking her mail and discovering he had left her a handwritten note, she is almost giddy, an emotion for which she quickly hates herself. He's younger and she doesn't understand what he would see in her. She is heavier, older, uninteresting and yet, he has left his number--asked her to call. Then, before she has a chance to contact him, he calls and asks her to dinner. It's a date, something official. Once again, she is on guard but she accepts the invitation regardless.

As the reader watches this woman dress for her date, watch her squirm nervously through the dinner, and ultimately get disappointed by this young man in the way she feared but had managed to ignore for a brief period of time...the reader is struck by the irony that is inherent in the situation at hand. He "respects" this woman after a night of not respecting her. It can't be true. That is the impression the reader is left with.

Is it punishment? Is it prophetic? Perhaps both. As the woman retreats into her apartment alone at the story's conclusion, her parting comment to her pet is telling. "It's nothing."

WOW!!!!!!! What a story that was very well written. I won't be forgetting this one. It's a little close to the vest for that.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-Seven: "Ghastly Dislocation" by James Lewelling


A psychiatrist is disturbed by a patient's fixation on him, his ability to keep tabs on his comings and goings, almost to the point of his own mental disintegration. This was a fascinating and psychological read and if it not for the SEVERE overuse of parenthetical phrases in this piece, I'd say this story was close to perfect.

There is an element to it that is very real and yet surreal at the same time. When the story concludes and the patient has abandoned his doctor rather than the other way around, there is a sense of sadness and loss that only makes sense in context of this one relationship.

I really don't know what to make of it at this point because those parenthetical phrases really stopped me from the full enjoyment I might have otherwise had with this story. Even so, I'd recommend for someone to check this out. This type of story is on the verge of Poe. I don't take that lightly.

A link to the story online is here:

Week Twenty-Nine Short Story Selections

Day One Hundred Ninety-Seven: "Ghastly Dislocation" by James Lewelling
Day One Hundred Ninety-Eight: "Respect" by Mary Gaitskill
Day One Hundred Ninety-Nine: "I'm Working on my Charm" by Dorothy Allison
Day Two Hundred: "Oasis" by Miles Klee
Day Two Hundred-One: "Cloud" by Andrew Sullivan
Day Two Hundred-Two: "The Use of Force" by William Carlos Williams
Day Two Hundred-Three:"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-Six: "The Boy with No Face" by Michael Depp


If it's too good to be true, it probably is. That saying is perfect for this story in which family after family moves into this cheap house on an island which is apparently haunted by the image of a boy with no face.

There is an element of supernatural about this story that I actually enjoyed. While perhaps a tad gory, this story felt more like Poe than it did like a true horror story. Overall, I thought it was well written and worth my time. I actually wanted to read more but this was a short short and so it ended too soon for me. That is a good sign about the writing.

A link to the story online is here:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-Three: "A Disturbance in the Herd Affects the Flock" by Matthew Jakubowski


Love in any form. This story was beyond bizarre. A man, in order to hunt, divides into may smaller men. His wife changes into fire to warm their home and cook their foods. The symbolism in this piece was obvious and yet it didn't detract from the story in my opinion. If anything, the characters seemed real. Their situation, the struggle to survive in a world where they are different, is very real and easy for readers to relate to.

I'm not sure still how I "feel" about this approach to a common theme in literature but, I won't soon forget this one. A link to the story online is here:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-One: "I Bought Twelve Pair of Socks at a Swap Meet in Tuscon" by Michael Frissore


This story was NOT what I expected and I'm sad to say, ultimately, it didn't work for me. It may be a taste thing but this was just too over the top for me. Two guys are sort of minor outlaws and are on the run out on the road when one guy gets mauled by coyotes and the friend simply regroups in a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant and then approaches a swap meet and talks to a girl where she is selling WWII memorabilia when he spots a T-rex charging at him.

Now, maybe this is a story trenched in some sort of symbolism that I'm not seeing. Or, maybe this narrator is high on drugs when telling the story. Regardless of the explanation if there even is one, I just couldn't get into it and that is pretty bad considering how short the piece was.

For anyone who wants to read it and challenge my review, please do so. The link to the story online is here:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety: "Another Life" by Paul La Farge


A frustrated writer sits at a bar after abandoning a family party where his wife, the pediatrician, is contentedly spending her time without him. The reader gets to watch this man interact with a young attractive bartender and it, for me, provided a realistic look at a very specific kind of loneliness that can exist in an "unequal" marriage, at least one that is perceived to be unequal by one or both of the parties to it.

The girl though has her own story. By story's end, after the bartender and the despaired man have hasty sex in a bathroom stall, the reader sees into the mind of this young girl and the story comes full circle. Loneliness has many faces. It's all a matter of perspective after all.

This was a really well written story too...I enjoyed it and would read more by this author. A link to the online story is here:

Week Twenty-Eight Short Story Selections

Day One Hundred Ninety: "Another Life" by Paul La Farge
Day One Hundred Ninety-One: "I Bought Twelve Pair of Socks at a Swap Meet in Tuscon" by Michael Frissore
Day One Hundred Ninety-Two: "Li Ling" by Atsushi Nakajima
Day One Hundred Ninety-Three: "A Disturbance in the Herd Affects the Flock" by Matthew Jakubowski
Day One Hundred Ninety-Four: "Boyfriend" by Junot Diaz
Day One Hundred Ninety-Five: "An Ex-Mas Feast" by Uwem Akpan
Day One Hundred Ninety-Six: "The Boy with No Face" by Michael Depp

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day One Hundred Eighty-Four: "The Non-Opening Window" by Simon Barker


A man shows up for a date with a woman he met through a match-making site only to realize that she thinks her dead husband has returned to her in the form of their family dog, "Monty". The man is warned by the woman's daughter about this strange fixation that her mother has and the reader even sees the mom doting on this dog in an unusual way. Yet, by story's end when the man bails out of the window of one of the bedrooms, whether his concern is legitimate or rather a fear placed there intentionally by the woman's daughter.

I thought this was a very clever story that could warrant another reading for sure. It was heavy in dialogue and it kept me intrigued from start to finish. Well done.

A link to the story online is here:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day One Hundred Eighty-Five: "Souls at Zero" by E.W. Boget


A man recounts his love for his brother, the nights they spent listening to music together, living life...and then how that tie was broken when the man walks in on his brother in bed with his girlfriend. The man questions himself, why he didn't see it coming and he also questions his ultimate decision to forgive his brother.

A punch to the face. His brother taking it like a man. That was all it took. Somehow, I don't think life is that easy even though this story certainly makes it seem that way.

This was a short short but it was very well written. I'd be interested in reading more by this writer.

A link to the story online is here:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day One Hundred Eighty-Three: "My Aunt Gold Teeth" by V.S. Naipaul


A LARGE Hindu woman so proud of her husband that she has her teeth pulled and replaced with gold ones, dabbles with Christianity to the point that she is convinced her husband has fallen ill because of her betrayal. She had been praying to conceive a child and had resorted to rosaries, prayers to Jesus, the kinds of things that her husband would shun.

She finally confesses to her husband and soon after he dies. Nothing changes for her but she sticks to Christianity and in her death, she is none the better. She is barren and the prayers all seem to, by the author, be something that can simply be chalked up to superstition.

This was an interesting read and makes me curious to read more by this well known author.

Week Twenty-Seven Short Story Selections

Day One Hundred Eighty-Three: "My Aunt Gold Teeth" by V.S. Naipaul
Day One Hundred Eighty-Four: "The Non-Opening Window" by Simon Barker
Day One Hundred Eighty-Five: "Souls at Zero" by E.W. Boget
Day One Hundred Eighty-Six: "Raw Water" by Wells Tower
Day One Hundred Eighty-Seven: "Going for a Beer" by Robert Coover
Day One Hundred Eighty-Eight:
Day One Hundred Eighty-Nine:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day One Hundred Eighty: "Kentucky Ham" by William Burroughs, Jr.


A boy watches his father and his father's friends engage in the decadence of Tangier. This story is alive with images of a world most readers in the 1960's couldn't have imagined and as a Beat writer, Burroughs' use of voice was spot on and it really helped showcase what this period of time was like for American artists and writers.

Drugs. Confusion. Friendship...primary.


(this was actually an excerpt from the novel by the same title but it works as a stand alone story and it was read that way)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Nine: "Jacklight" by Jeff Ewing


A man shoots a buck and hunts it down late into the night when the buck refuses to simply stop and accept the death. The reader gets a glimpse into the mind of the hunter, a unique look at the vulnerability present in many men who take the lives of animals such as this. I thought the story was well written and it really made me think about the idea of hunting, the thrill of it, in a completely different way.

The story is available online here:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Eight: "What the Moon Brings" by H.P. Lovecraft


In this story a man fears what the moon will bring or rather, what the moon's light will shine upon and unearth to the eye. Staring at the sea, the narrator is afraid of what lurks beneath the water among the seaweed and the grime. There is a tension in this story that both detracted from the meaning for me but at the same time, kept me reading swiftly toward the story's end.

The writing itself was gorgeous and that too threw me for a loop when contrasted with the general topic of the story. This was an interesting read indeed.

A link to the story online can be found here:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Seven: "A Pretty Quarrel" by Lord Dunsany


A Battle between dwarves and demi-gods. Thank goodness this story was a short one. It's a shame that an Anglo-Irish writer like this doesn't give me more to talk about...I had such high hopes after reading his wikipedia bio as follows:

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (24 July 1878–25 October 1957), was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work in fantasy published under the name Lord Dunsany. More than eighty books of his work were published, and his oeuvre includes hundreds of short stories, as well as successful plays, novels and essays. Born to one of the oldest titles in the Irish peerage, he lived much of his life at perhaps Ireland’s longest-inhabited home, Dunsany Castle near Tara, received an honourary doctorate from Trinity College, and died in Dublin.

For what it's worth, a link to the story online can be found here:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Six: "Skin Tailoring" by Marina Harris

Week Twenty-Six Short Story Selections

Day One Hundred Seventy-Six: "Skin Tailoring" by Marina Harris
Day One Hundred Seventy-Seven: "A Pretty Quarrel" by Lord Dunsany
Day One Hundred Seventy-Eight: "What the Moon Brings" by H.P. Lovecraft
Day One Hundred Seventy-Nine: "Jacklight" by Jeff Ewing
Day One Hundred Eighty: "Kentucky Ham" by William Burroughs, Jr.
Day One Hundred Eighty-One: "Wake in the Night" by Laura Krughoff
Day One Hundred Eighty-Two:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Five: "Debris" by Courtney Elizabeth Mauk


A floundering artist prepares to meet his daughter after not seeing her for many years. He dumpster dives and finds items with which to make a doll, a gift, something for her to show his love, to show how his creativity has worked to his advantage when in all truth, he is failing, and couldn't have bought a toy for his child if he'd wanted to.

Ultimately, this story is heartbreaking and unique and will not soon leave my memory for the vividness of the images, the language used, the sheer force of the ending where the man doesn't see his daughter after all.

Brilliant. A gem of a read.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Four: "Pig" by Yann Martel

Science. Boundaries.

A bovine digestive system is transplanted into a human and soon, its success story spreads and society adapts and more and more people began to have the procedure. But, the unforeseen consequences of the success of such a transplant is what this story is really about.

Cause and Effect. Slippery Slope. Science sometimes only gets it half right when it doesn't look far enough ahead into the future. This story makes this point perfectly and with wit and intelligence. Nice job!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Three: "My Father Sits in the Dark" by Jerome Weidman


A man recounts seeing his father sitting in the dark in his home, always sitting and smoking and staring straight ahead, quiet and without much to say to his son even when his son tries to engage him in conversations. When this story occurs, the son has grown angry with his father over this.

But still, despite the frustration of this nightly ritual, there is something comforting in this story. There is a steadiness about the relationship, an idea that there is known about these two all there is to know, or rather perhaps, all that they want to know. So, but not saying much, much is being conveyed and that makes this piece subtle and beautiful.

This story warrants a re-read...or five...for sure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-Two: "The Staircase" by Connie Mae Fowler


A young black woman cleans house and spends most of her time and effort polishing a wooden staircase. Interestingly, while a huge source of pride for her, the act of cleaning offers this young woman a way to engage with those around her in a way they are unaware. She hears their stories, their secrets, and she carries with her their fear and their hate and their lies but she wipes it all away. She is there to do that as much as to actually dust the wood itself.

This was a lovely story set in the South with language and dialogue to match. I thought it was a very authentic read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day One Hundred Seventy-One: "Mirrors to the Soul" by Elizabeth Judd

Blindness. Denial.

A young woman dates a painter and is enamored by the way he paints, the way he views her and how those views show up on the canvas. She is so proud of her relationship with him as if it is a way to tell everybody who ever dumped her to "piss off" but, by the story's end, with a clever twist, the reader sees that she has turned a blind eye to what this man is about. The paintings she loves are hers but not about her.

Told in the first person, this story was really hard to read because one almost gets the sense that this girl is really overselling herself and is that convinced of her own allure. I felt myself waiting for the big reveal. Any girl who is that sure about herself is a fool. This story proved this point in a very interesting and new way.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Nine: "Fathering" by Bharati Mukherjee

Week Twenty-Five Short Story Selections

Day One Hundred Sixty-Nine: "Fathering" by Bharati Mukherjee
Day One Hundred Seventy: "Laurie Dressing" by Harold Brodkey
Day One Hundred Seventy-One: "Mirrors to the Soul" by Elizabeth Judd
Day One Hundred Seventy-Two: "The Staircase" by Connie Mae Fowler
Day One Hundred Seventy-Three: "My Father Sits in the Dark" by Jerome Weidman
Day One Hundred Seventy-Four: "Pig" by Yann Martel
Day One Hundred Seventy-Five: "Debris" by Courtney Elizabeth Mauk

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight: "Rat Beach" by William Styron

A link to the story online is below:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Seven: "Big Inches" by Ralph Robert Moore


A man is stopped in his vehicle and subjected to a search. Then he is taken to a sort of jail it seems where a search of his person ensues. Then, the man is searched piece by teach, has his hair shaved off, his teeth pulled, etc until when the story ends, his heart is all that is left and even then, nothing can be found in it.

Talk about a strange story that I couldn't stop reading. I didn't want to finish it but I couldn't help myself, sensing that on a metaphorical level, there was meaning to this disgusting madness. I was left with a sense of "ewwwww" and to that end, the story was successful in that it was memorable for sure.


A link to the story online is below:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Six: "Mornings, with Teenage Genius" by Jakob Drud


A father is confused by his son, his son's talk of charged particles, fusion, things from his job. By the story's end though, the dad doesn't want his son to change anything. He is comfortable with their relationship even if he doesn't understand all there is to know about his son. They talk. There is that. For the father, that is enough.

Again, this story was a bit sparse for me and it made it difficult to follow despite the shortness of the piece.

A link to this story can be found online here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Five: "Moe Simon's Victory" by Marisa Samuels


A man bets on a Jewish horse and wins. How the money will be spent is up for debate but the astonishment over the win is not. That's this story in a nutshell. The details were rich and interesting but I thought it needed more of an "arc" to feel complete. I would have liked more development but still, the read was enjoyable.

A link to the story online is below:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Four: "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury

The Unknown.

A group of children living underground haven't seen the sun in years when they are told by scientists that on the next day, the rain will stop and the sun will be out for two hours. One of the children among them remembers the sun and its warmth and colors from her time on earth before being forced underground. None of the others believe her. To punish her for "lying" to them and teasing them with a knowledge they lacked, the children lock the young girl into a closet when it is time to go outside and bask in the rare sunshine.

When the story ends, the children return and are mortified at what they have just deprived this girl of. No more sunshine for seven years is the prediction. Their cruelty was only the tip of the iceberg. The young girls' hurtful silence in the face of their cruelty will be the lesson gleaned from it all and scientists cannot predict that.

A link to the story online is below:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty-Three: "The Thief Who Stole the Melody" by Naguib Mahfouz


This was a part of a larger work and was the story of a man's rise to some semblance of power in his own circle of "riffraff" as the title of the larger work indicates--The Harafish.

Overall, I was a little lost while reading this and I feel certain it was the translation from Egyptian. Even so, I enjoyed seeing how the underbelly of this Egyptian society worked and how it shaped the characters Mahfouz chose to write about, characters I felt he both knew well and admired in his own way.

Perhaps this is an example of where I should start at the beginning of this longer work and read from there instead of starting where I did. It might have made this story more appealing throughout if I had.