Finding Focus Day 1: Jonathan Franzen’s Computer

Three summers ago, novelist Jonathan Franzen was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. One of the things I will never forget from the feature article on Franzen, written by Lev Grossman and published on August 12, 2010, is when Franzen mentions what he did with his computer. Grossman writes: Because Franzen believes you can’t write serious … Continue reading Finding Focus Day 1: Jonathan Franzen’s Computer

How Playing Scrabble Made Me A Better Writer

When I started playing Scrabble, I mistakenly thought it was a game about spelling and vocabulary. I never did very well, because I was more concerned with spelling fancy words than positioning my tiles effectively. But then I had an epiphany: Scrabble wasn’t really about spelling; it was about strategic arrangement. Being good at spelling … Continue reading How Playing Scrabble Made Me A Better Writer

The In Between Space: Reconciliation in Joy Williams’ Short Stories

  In her short story collections, Escapes (1990) and Honored Guest (2005), Joy Williams explores loss in provocative and disturbing ways, exploring suburban dystopia through strained human relationships.  Her stories address in between spaces: spaces between question and answer, possession and loss, and life and death.  As I reread her work, I noticed some ways in … Continue reading The In Between Space: Reconciliation in Joy Williams’ Short Stories

Characters as Translations: Thoughts on Cathy Park Hong’s Dance Dance Revolution

Cathy Park Hong’s collection of poetry, Dance Dance Revolution, is a linguistic masterpiece.  Narrated by an Historian who is transcribing the words of a Guide in the Desert, an invented resort city, the narrative goes from English to Korean to Spanish to Latin.  It explores the borders that exist in countries and in minds.  It expands the … Continue reading Characters as Translations: Thoughts on Cathy Park Hong’s Dance Dance Revolution