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Brothers on a hotel bed

Recently I spent a few bucks to watch a livestream of Death Cab for Cutie playing a show at Red Rocks. The band was on its first (small) tour in nearly two years, playing a vaccinated crowd; the idea of being in a crowd, regardless of vaccination status, still sets

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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

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Dear Mrs. Gruhn

Recently I received a letter in the mail from my high school creative writing teacher, Mrs. Gruhn. We've been in touch here and there the last few years, but it's been a little while since the last time. In the letter, she hoped my writing was going well, and that

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The books on my desk

A couple of years ago, taking a cue from Austin Kleon, I squeezed a second desk into my study. In Steal Like an Artist, Kleon wrote: I have two desks in my office—one is “analog” and one is “digital.” The analog desk has nothing but markers, pens, pencils, paper,

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A place for writing

I built my first web site a little over twenty years ago. Twenty-three, I think. At the time, I worked as a computer salesperson for a small shop in Anchorage, Alaska. We weren't terribly busy, I wasn't a very good salesperson, and I didn't like cold-calling, so I spent hours

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Two drafts in one

Sitting on a hard drive in my study are my earliest novels, each written in Microsoft Word in the mid-to-late nineties. That's how I started writing Eleanor, too; somewhere along the way, however, I migrated to Scrivener, though I never really took advantage of its features. For a little while

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A red sun

One thing that I've missed since the beginning of the pandemic is my sense of morning routine. It's a small thing, I know; I've learned over the last 18 months just how adaptable I really am. Things I felt were essential to my happiness aren't as critical anymore. I used

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Writing all over the place

Three or so years ago I decided to start keeping a journal. I fill around ten or twelve notebooks each year; fewer, I've noticed, since the pandemic began. Each one is numbered and put away when I finish. The last one was #35. About two years ago, I think, I

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Quotation marks

There's something wonderful about a story that dispenses with quotation marks. As I mentioned before, I've just finished In the Quick, by Kate Hope Day. Not a quotation mark to be found in Day's novel. Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Kent Haruf's Plainsong. Severance, by Ling Ma; Normal People, by Sally

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Little novels

I've just finished reading In the Quick, by Kate Hope Day. It's a slim novel, with fifty-three chapters, many of them quite short. Some of my favorite novels over the last two years have been "little" books. Jenny Offill's The Dept. of Speculation, or Alexandra Chang's Days of Distraction. West,