On words and awareness and ignorance and compassion

Social media is a hyper-emotional space, fraught with extreme opinions, extreme sensitivities, extreme expressions conveyed in extreme compression which leads to extreme misunderstanding. This is true on Facebook, on blogs, on Instagram, on Reddit, and perhaps especially on Twitter, where the limitation of 140 characters demands an extreme attention to and care with language butContinue reading “On words and awareness and ignorance and compassion”

Texas waters rising (and how to help)

Yesterday, I posted a review of the History Channel miniseries Texas Rising, and I plan to post more reviews as the series continues the next few Mondays. But I wanted to save this news for its own, separate post: all of the areas depicted in that series, from the Alamo and San Antonio de Béxar to GoliadContinue reading “Texas waters rising (and how to help)”

Helping friends affected by the fires and building collapses in NY

Gang, we’re all family here, yeah? Maybe you’re a friend of mine, or maybe you’re a fan of my work, or maybe you just stopped by out of curiosity. But if you’re here, chances are good that you like writing or writers or reading or listening to art. And that makes us family. And ourContinue reading “Helping friends affected by the fires and building collapses in NY”

#Je suis Charlie

(Premièrement, s’il vous plaît excuser la maladresse de mon français. Mon français est tellement rouillée c’est décrépit, et oui, j’ai complété mes compétences linguistiques pauvres avec Google.) Comme beaucoup de gens — en particulier de nombreux artistes et écrivains et autres créateurs dans le monde — j’ai fait beaucoup d’introspection aujourd’hui. Pour les peu deContinue reading “#Je suis Charlie”

Zen and the art of brutality; or, How can a Buddhist write such violence?

A lot of people read my fiction and tell me something like, “Wait. I thought you were Buddhist?” Even friends are sometimes surprised that I am (by intention if not always by action) so committed to compassion and nonviolence and the pursuit of enlightenment, yet I write such cruel characters, such violent events, such aContinue reading “Zen and the art of brutality; or, How can a Buddhist write such violence?”

Buy Hagridden and support military families

I have two dedications in my Civil War novel, Hagridden: the first is to my wife, the second is to “every civilian who ever lived through a war or is living through one now.” In public appearances, I tend to tell people that my novel is about the people that war leaves behind. Both of which areContinue reading “Buy Hagridden and support military families”

I don’t know what else to do but write

I have so much to say on the Ferguson situation right now. I almost typed “the Mike Brown situation,” and we shouldn’t forget how this started. We shouldn’t forget who lost his life, or his family, or his friends. I then almost typed “the grand jury decision,” but this is so much bigger than themContinue reading “I don’t know what else to do but write”

Thirteen years ago today

I was driving a two-hour commute to teach a college class. I listened to the news on the radio. At one point I had to pull over on the side of the road just to catch my breath. Later, I passed others who had done the same. When I got to school, I spent halfContinue reading “Thirteen years ago today”

Freedom and equality in Oregon

This isn’t really within the purview of this blog, where I mostly write about literature and education. But I love my adopted home state of Oregon, and today, Oregon is chock full of love. This has been too long coming, but I am very, VERY happy that’s it’s here. I am so proud of my state,Continue reading “Freedom and equality in Oregon”

A signed copy Box Cutters if you help Molly Gaudry fly

Do you know Molly Gaudry? Because you should. I don’t want to bury the lead, so if you want to get to know her, start by helping her out at Fly with Molly. But more on that in the minute. I mention this because I’m a huge fan of Molly. She’s a hell of a writer —Continue reading “A signed copy Box Cutters if you help Molly Gaudry fly”