Category Archives: Criticism

The Perils of Prophecy

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, I wrote some predictions about the Presidency of Barack Obama, folded them, stapled them shut, and put them in my desk drawer at work. On December 1, 2010, I didn’t open it, but added a … Continue reading

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Survivalism

Survivalism is a collection of absurd delusions. You have your own solar panels, your own water supply, and your own food growing and preserved on your own property? Someone bigger, stronger, or better armed can steal them, enslave you, or … Continue reading

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Rejecting the Gratitude Challenge

The Gratitude Challenge has been making the rounds on Facebook, and several people have invited me to participate. The object of the game is to list three things you are grateful for every day for a week, then challenge others … Continue reading

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Don’t Pray for Peace

Lately, we’ve all been hearing many prayers for peace, but it’s not prayer or the lack of it that is our problem. There are limited resources in this world–land, water, oil, food, money, power. People fight over them, as they … Continue reading

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Alligators and Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a strange beast, isn’t it? It’s compressed like a poem or a joke. It tries to do many things in a tight space: create a tiny narrative arc, suggest fully-formed characters in a gesture or two, allude … Continue reading

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The People’s MFA

I have a new essay on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose today about the People’s MFA, and about a particular session taught by Professor Michael Chabon. I’ve been thinking for some time about the process by which writers consciously and unconsciously model, … Continue reading

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“The Goldfinch”

Now that Donna Tartt has won the Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, I should probably link to my review of her beautiful novel on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose. A time-honored axiom among screenwriters and novelists is “Chase your character up a tree and … Continue reading

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Hungry

I was in the A&P late this afternoon, around 5:30, when I noticed that I was in a surly mood, almost itching for a fight with the woman behind the bakery counter who didn’t want to answer my question about the … Continue reading

Posted in Criticism, Education | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Expanding the Universe

This week, a guest post from Ruth Hansen about the crucial role the arts play in expanding our circles of compassion. Acting teacher Sanford Meisner defined acting as no less than living truthfully in imaginary circumstances.  Actors are trained to imagine … Continue reading

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“A Hologram for the King”

Despite all the hoopla about outdoor activities centered around water, serious book slaves know that the purpose of a summer vacation is reading. This week, the Magnificent Nose ran a series of summer book reviews that asked writers to think … Continue reading

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