On Publishing Choices: An Opinionated Primer
guest post for Pimp My Novel blog, August 2010
Memoir, Truth, and Activism
guest post for LGBT Reading blog, June 2010
Writing About Real People
guest post for Heim Binas Fiction blog, June 2010
An essay inspired by the publication, eighteen
years later, of a new book about my favorite fictional
I Eat What I "Don't Eat"
A short piece on food and peace, probably written in
summer/fall 2004 as part of my Gourmet Guest project. I think I once
planned to revise and expand it but that never wound up happening. I
stumbled across this piece again years later in a recipe notebook, at a
time when I was trying again to wrap my head around a political confict,
and decided it should see the light of day.
This story has more than one beginning. It began a few
I turned twenty, I went home, I saw her in concert. It began nearly five years
ago: I bought a tape of hers, Shooting Straight in the Dark. It began just
before that: Mr. Nicholson--her former and my then-current English teacher--showed
our class a videotape of her performing at the Grammys. It begins now: I try
to put this in words and hope I can tell it right.
Your mere "hello" could become a ten-page story, your
could put me on the bestseller list, your lifetime achievement could be a
line of mediocre prose.... This piece is the Personal Statement I
with my application to Emerson's MFA program; it served as a
credo of sorts throughout graduate school. In a sense, it is also a sequel
to "Meeting Chapin."
If you could
an evening with any one person, living,
deceased, or fictional, whom would you choose and why?
This essay got me into college. It's sort of bragging, I guess,
to show it off here. But the college counselors and English teachers at my
high school started using it to teach the seniors how to write good college
essays, and I thought it might inspire other students struggling with the
challenge. The quotation is from Ellen Emerson White's White House Autumn,
and the copy I sent to Penn and Yale included a proper citation.
In Something Called Friendship
A fictional story rooted in a real place where I spent
Camp is a world which influenced my
life profoundly through my teen years, with long-lasting reverberations.
2nd place in CAJE's David Dornstein
Memorial Short Story
Contest, Summer 1999
Jewish Education News, Summer 1999
1st place in CAJE's David
Dornstein Memorial Short Story Contest, Summer 2000
Jewish Education News, Winter 2001