Dillard! 

You know it’s all her fault. Annie Dillard makes me want to be a writer and not just any writer, but one that is filled with poetry, and reverence and beauty. I want to write like her and there are times when I think I’m close to succeeding. Is this …

Spiritual Geography

I was young when I first came to read Dakota. I was searching, and a friend thought it might help guide me. True enough. Over the years, I’ve returned to this classic memoir about finding yourself not where you expected, but as you are. Each time the book reveals new things. …

Based on a True Story, winks Borges

  When reading Jorge Luis Borges one is constantly flipping back to the cover. Exactly what am I reading?  Fiction or non-fiction? Borges’ prose is so well crafted one is never fully sure if the work is a piece of make believe or if the material is thinly veiled truth. There …

Here’s Where The Story Begins

  Around 1990, or so, I was traveling through the Alberta foothills on some news assignment with my photographer Shaun B. We were in his truck, and we were listening to The Sundays’ song “Here’s Where The Story Ends,” and I envisioned, completely, in my mind a young couple who …

Faulkner’s Terrain

William Faulkner is either loved or loathed — I slouch toward the former, especially Absalom, Absalom! It’s utterly brilliant, one of those tour-de-forces. “Tell about the South. What’s it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all.” ― William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! …

The Finnegans Wake Toolkit

Found this great online resource for tackling Finnegans Wake which I have attempted several times without much success, I’m afraid. Maybe you. Maybe me — but somewhere down the road. I love what poet Ezra Pound said about the book: I will have another go at it, but up to present I …

History & Coming Through Slaughter 

The madness at the heart of Michael Ondaatje’s prose poetry novel, Coming Through Slaughter, is the trio of literary devices the novelist uses to propel the story. It is amazing to watch Ondaatje’s style mirror the mad descent of famous jazz cornet player Buddy Bolden in turn of the century …

The Age of Flow

I’m glad to be alive to see the growing awareness of identity fluidity in all its wonderful ambiguities and manifestations. Socially, politically, biologically the swath is widening, is more inclusive. My parents always instilled in us kiddos the understanding the world is what you make it, yes, but in conjunction with …

Beckett Missives

It might be that every writer has a Samuel Beckett period — an ardent desire for the unadorned, the brutality of life and all that. I certainly did. I remember skipping my studies one dark fall season to stay in bed reading his plays. Later on, his novels (very tiresome). …

Getting it Down 

The memoirist must be a note-keeper, a gatherer of words and impressions, ideas and sensations — a hunter of ghosts. Keep a notebook. So says Samuel Pepys, Joan Didion, Louis deSalvo, Susan Sontag… me. Morning pages. Mourning pages. A ritual of conservation, preservation of memory. A notebook traps ghosts. It …