Blog

Putting It All Out There

Until I enrolled in the Skidmore Summer Writers Institute for a two-week course on nonfiction writing, I’d never heard of Philip Lopate, the man who would be my instructor. I guess that shows how little serious reading I’d done in “literary nonfiction.” Lopate, it turns out, is the king of nonfiction, having written four collections … Continue reading Putting It All Out There

Business and the Moral Life

One of the great benefits of having a daughter in college is getting to see her assigned readings—and then indulging myself in those that capture my interest. It’s like a dividend payment for all those tuition checks we wrote. In the last three years of my daughter’s studies, I’ve been turned on to the works … Continue reading Business and the Moral Life

Exclamation-Point Leadership

One of my former employees recently recalled some advice I gave the editors at our marketing communications agency: “You only get one exclamation point in your writing career. Use it wisely.” At the time, I thought I was quoting Tennessee Williams, but I can’t find any such remark from him. My search for the origin … Continue reading Exclamation-Point Leadership

My Glorious Lacrosse Career

The year I played lacrosse at Manual High School in Denver, the team posed for its yearbook picture holding beakers and wearing safety goggles. I’m not sure whose idea that was, or what connection existed between chemistry and an ancient Native American sport. Recently, when I came across that image in my Thunderbolts yearbook, my … Continue reading My Glorious Lacrosse Career

A Sort of Dark Poem About Summer

Dichotomy It was by our old garage door beneath a spot long favored by birds to build nests of mud and string. The neighbor’s cat had not yet found it, though by dusk its deathbed would be merely flattened grass and a tuft of down. Perhaps I had seen this one the day before, its … Continue reading A Sort of Dark Poem About Summer

What Masculinity Looked Like

Masculinity is a freighted word. I can’t conjure those five syllables without calling to mind certain classic images of maleness. It’s like there’s a memory chip in my brain that serves up the same old picture, even when I change the search terms. The same phenomenon is true, I think, for all kinds of deep-seated … Continue reading What Masculinity Looked Like

A Mother’s Cancer, In a Poem

A Meeting, Eventually It was a taking-away for you— eight years of Providence slow unfolding— like cloud-shadows passing over low, green fields— as the obedient soul yields to its story’s ending. Perhaps I shall yield as well at a point I cannot foretell— though you may see an altered course: a truck weaving up the … Continue reading A Mother’s Cancer, In a Poem

A Poem About the Early Crocus

Early Flowers Pale purple crocuses crowd beneath the apple tree by the stone foundation warmed by a mid-March sun. April, I know, brings Spring but also snow, feather-flaked and heavy, bends the creeping rose low to the garden’s cheek. If the cold should come again, will the huddled crocus, mustering crowd of luminous stem and … Continue reading A Poem About the Early Crocus

Brutalized Souls and the Epidemic of PTSD

Details about the crime were all too familiar. On April 23rd, a young man in Sunnyvale, CA, steered his car into a group of pedestrians. Eight people were injured, three of them from one “south Asian” family. A 13-year-old girl was left in a coma, fighting for her life. Before long, reports emerged that the … Continue reading Brutalized Souls and the Epidemic of PTSD

What Those Chickadees Are Really Saying

Writing, for me, is like lucid dreaming. I can get so lost in my imaginary world that my realities become inverted: My desk and laptop drift into a kind of haze, while the world I'm writing about becomes vividly present. It's kind of cool, really, and when I'm in a groove like that, I hate … Continue reading What Those Chickadees Are Really Saying