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The very first blog post I ever wrote was in 1998. I don't think the word 'blog' was being bandied about quite yet, though I could be wrong. And mine was hardly more than a static site I updated regularly with new entries. I've been thinking lately about how much

Finding pleasure in the work

I wrote my very first novel just after high school. As with most first novels—particularly first novels written by someone hardly more than a teenager—it struggles mightily to be good. Oh, young me wanted so badly to be a writer. That eagerness regularly collided with my inexperience, not

The web sites we once were

The other day, out of curiosity, I went hunting for one of my very first web sites. I created it with a free service in 1998; most of those services were swallowed up, years later, by big tech companies, and all the sites within them held underwater until they expired.

Winter at Hill House

This week, as I enjoyed a little time off, it snowed for the first time this season. The hill we live atop is steep, generally too steep when icy for even a Jeep to navigate safely, so when it snows, we stay home. (Easier this year, since "stay home" has

Blowing up mountains

From the window I can see three mountains: Hood, Adams, St. Helens. They're all quite lovely at a distance. I don't know much about them. Mt. St. Helens, of course, erupted in 1980. I was two years old, so of course don't remember it. I relate it, though, to a


I can't remember the first kolache I ever had. (Kolaches are a pastry, usually fruit surrounded by sweet dough. In Texas, where I would've first encountered them, however, they'd evolved, or been mutilated, into bundles of meat and cheese and sometimes eggs inside a pocket of sweet dough.) Around 1992,


Paul Thomas Anderson is possibly my favorite filmmaker. I saw Boogie Nights when I was in college, then Magnolia a couple of years later, and then backtracked to catch Sydney/Hard Eight. But while I love those early movies, the ones that mean the most to me have come much


When I was seven years old, my family moved from Alaska to Texas. I started the third grade a little younger than the other kids. A new school. A new town. My classmates had all been friends for years by then, having come up through all the previous years together.

Friday Harbor

For the last fifteen or so years—I honestly can't remember when it started; perhaps with a long weekend in Cambria, CA, while writing Eleanor []?—I have taken a week off in September, then traveled somewhere alone to work on whatever project I have going.

Wonder famous almost boys

Recently I was talking with Felicia about movies, in particular movies about writers. Movies about writers shaped my beliefs, as a younger man, about what a writing life would be like; for the last many years, I have learned to unwind those beliefs, as they don't reflect any kind of