What effect does a set of words have? In one way, it can drive commerce. The corollary to that, of course, is that words drive commerce because they strike a chord somewhere deep within the reader. Maybe the words you read this morning made you laugh, and so you had a lovely day. Maybe they made you think, and so you were pensive over lunch. Or maybe, maybe, they inflamed you so much that you had a lively dinner conversation.
All good things.
While my pursuit of words allows me my living, it also affords me the chance to play with them in a more literary fashion. I’m pursuing my Master of Fine Arts at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts to find out exactly how that works–and piece all the knowledge together into a novel that hopefully will make you laugh and cry and potentially be, in the words of James Patterson’s publicist, unputdownable.*
In the meantime, here are a few choice literary contributions.
*Yuck. I know, right? I’ll settle for “a great read.”
Sometimes I write essays about other people’s literature. In this case, it’s Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” series.
Here, it’s a thorny subject, something I call “garden-variety bigotry.”
Sometimes I write things that have to do with my favorite things. (In this case, it’s my dog, Sprocket.) Sometimes they get published by lovely literary magazines that have online offshoots. (Click the logo to go to “Bi-Pedal to Quadripedal Communications, Key of B.”)
Sometimes I like to try and put my readers into places that I’ve been. I want you to go there with me, to see things that I have, and, in the case of this essay about my growing up in California’s Inland Empire, to smell and feel the things I did. [Click the logo to go to the essay.]
The Origins of Everything
Ever wonder who came up with brassieres? Or Kool-Aid? What about suspenders and fountain pens, or truffles? I was curious, and I was lucky enough to work with a publisher who was curious too. They asked me to contribute to this gem of a book, a must-have for anyone who ever wondered about anything. Period. It’s available at book stores now, so go take a look, and look for my entries.
100 Days of Monsters
Sometimes I can’t stop myself from writing. When I saw Stefan Bucher’s innovative real-time movies depicting ink blobs being blown out into lively creatures, I was immediately drawn to the idea of creating stories for them. All those monsters became a book, and I’ve written one of the forewords as well as a good number of the stories in this lovely volume. An absolute labor of joy. Get some joy of your own here.
It’s what I’m getting my Master’s in. It’s what I want to do. It’s the only way some stories will ever get told.
I’m the fiction editor for the Los Angeles Review. [Click the logo to get to LAR's site.] We open for submissions twice a year, so polish up those short–and short-short–stories.