Comb on Daily Love

I am undeniably in good spirits because my prose poem, Comb, will be published on the front page of Daily Love magazine on April 15th, 2012, which is a good thing, as I will have other pressing matters like taxes on my hands around this time. Visit  

Not Just One

I hadn't realized until recently, and only when I kept putting down one book for another as I saw fit, that I was consuming a lot of literature simultaneously. This takes me back to my college days as a late bloomer and someone who decided to make a mid-career change in 2004, a choice that enabled me to earn a degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Union Institute and University, in Montpelier, VT. Residencies were tough to say the least, and exhaustive beyond measure; but college at this stage in life prepared me well to take on heavy reading and writing tasks (let's not call it homework; I think I'm past that for now). I read more books then (hundreds!), and wrote equally as I have never done before and possibly have not attempted thus far, simply because college left me in a long drawn out spell of fatigue. And, yet, I wish for this experience all over again. Rich, rich, rich! Okay, enough talk. Here's what's in and out of my reading mix right now: Terra amata, J.M.G. Le Clezio The Land of Green Plums, Herta Muller The Call of the Wild/White Fang, Jack London Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides Stealing Buddha's Dinner, Bich Minh Nguyen The Copyeditor's Handbook, Amy Einsohn Woe Is I - The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, Patricia T. O'Connor What's next: Room, Emma Donoghue A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

A Balanced Opinion?

Talking Mouth IllustrationI sat across a table from an acquaintance recently to discuss my short story, which I e-mailed him just a few days earlier. I wanted his opinion on the story (a novel excerpt) and also on the quality of writing, and he was kind enough to read it. I must say here that the acquaintance in question is someone within an extended circle of friends. When he began to offer his opinion, I braced myself and listened carefully to each word, as much as I observed his physical reaction. He started by saying that the story was a good one, but there were issues -- and then he launched into a long list of things he found wrong with it. Moments later, he paused and put his hand on my arm, as if to check my pulse. He wanted to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. I assured him I was okay; I wanted his opinion, I said. And so I got it unabated. But could he have been more sensitive and balanced? And was I wrong to expect that out of him? After all, I wanted his opinion -- I wasn't asking him for a passport to publishing's Atlantis! I sensed that he thought he could've been less direct and critical, but he's not the diplomatic type, and he isn’t a writer by profession, as far as I know, although I do know that he reads a lot. However, I thanked him, and after we parted, I gave his views some thought and wondered where I might draw the line between the points he made and all that I wished to hold on to (my precious children) in the story. I still haven't decided how to process that meeting, except to say that I never let his criticism hamper my desire to keep writing. If I followed (verbatim) the critical advice I received in every review, I'm afraid I might crumble and lose sense of my own force and imagination in my writing. And, yet, I’ll take a review anyday. ~Ignatius