Denis Johnson told us what he dreamed, and he told us what was real

Last night I went to sleep thinking about Denis Johnson, the news of whose passing was among the last things I read before turning in for the night. This morning, I woke to find everyone else thinking about Denis Johnson, too — many hadn’t seen the news until daybreak. One writer I know shared the newsContinue reading “Denis Johnson told us what he dreamed, and he told us what was real”

“We have no time for sorrows”

Like most straight guys my age — and, I’d be willing to wager, a great many gay guys and a great many women — I first fell in love with Carrie Fisher in her role as Leia Organa. And it wasn’t because she was a princess. It was because she was a fierce, determined fighter, anContinue reading ““We have no time for sorrows””

The Captain’s shoes

About eight months ago, my paternal grandfather died. I’ve written about him on the blog before; just look for any posts about Capt. Ted Snoek. He was 95 years old when he moved on, and his memorial service drew a wonderful crowd. My family invited me to speak at the service. I wrote a pieceContinue reading “The Captain’s shoes”

Gabriel García Márquez has died . . .

. . . Long live Gabriel García Márquez. I was a late-comer to García Márquez, having never been assigned his seminal One Hundred Years of Solitude in high school, as so many others had been. I first picked him up a handful of years ago when I was browsing a bookstore in a fit of indecision, unsureContinue reading “Gabriel García Márquez has died . . .”

“We’ll eat you up — we love you so!”

When I was a child, I knew where the wild things were. I was one of them. When I read Maurice Sendak’s classic book — again and again — as a child, that was one of the most important things I took away from the text. I was a wild terror of a boy, afterContinue reading ““We’ll eat you up — we love you so!””

Photo blog 29

Translated from the German:  “The soul lives on.”  In the Cemetery of the Nameless, Vienna, Austria, 30 November 2009. This image isn’t directly related to my NaNoWriMo novel, but I am getting to a place in my novel where I might start writing about cemeteries, and the Friedhof der Namenlosen has become for me aContinue reading “Photo blog 29”

In memoriam: Scott Simpkins

One of my former professors, a great but humble man named Scott Simpkins, died this morning, in his home in Denton. I don’t know any more about his death except that he’d been in poor health for some time, and that he will be dearly, dearly missed. One of the great joys of academic lifeContinue reading “In memoriam: Scott Simpkins”

Barry Hannah

Barry Hannah will leave a gaping hole in literature.  His influence on my own work is strangely subtle and roundabout (I know him more for his influence on others–especially Tom Franklin–than for anything else), but when I think about the stories I’ve read, I realize how deeply effective they were.  For all the brashness ofContinue reading “Barry Hannah”

On a life, our liberty, and the pursuit of reading: a reflection on the life and work of Judith Krug

Two years ago, I had the great privilege of eating dinner with Judith Krug. My wife was giving a two-hour presentation on librarians in film at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association, and as a member of WLA’s Intellectual Freedom Roundtable, she also got to meet and work briefly with Judith Krug, theContinue reading “On a life, our liberty, and the pursuit of reading: a reflection on the life and work of Judith Krug”