Look at the whole board

The Bartlett Administration, cir. 1999-2000 In the early days of the pandemic, I started re-watching Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing (1999-2006), a much beloved drama chronicling the lives and intrigues big and small of President Jeb Bartlet’s eight years in office. It’s dated, there’s no doubt. The coats are boxy, the metaphors are heavy-handed, and […]

On Character

I’ve been thinking about characters and characterization, about the way a writer can build and populate their work with ink and paper people. About the tricks we use to make those people real for our readers. The foibles that need to be imbedded in them, the lexicons we design for them, the archetypes we use […]

A Time to Take Pictures

There are times for words and times for actions, times for art and music and protest. There are times to walk out into the world and say Today There Will Be Change, because change is good and evolution is powerful. There are times to hide. Times of fear. Times of distress and anger and, times […]

Art & Apesh*t

Warning, contains sweeping generalizations and graphic art. Mary Patterson (1828) J. Oliphant Recently, I came across the above image. A pencil sketch by John Oliphant of a young woman named Mary Patterson. The subject is nude, supine, and one of a long line of female artistic subjects laid in a posture that would be uncomfortable […]

On the seventh week of isolation

And on the seventh week of isolation, I started wearing jewelry again. A watch, a necklace, two rings. The watch is a sister to the one my dad gave me when I started getting serious about running back in high school. The silver cross necklace was a birthday present from my grandmother the summer I […]

Eating Time

When I was six months old, my mom made a friend. And when I say made, I mean made. His name is Herman, he lives in a Pyrex bowl in one of her cabinets, eating flour every few days, and turning out consistent loaves of the best Amish friendship bread in the world every time […]

Together, apart

Fitzgerald Park, Cork, approx. 1:30pm March 18, 2020 In Defoe’s version of this story, the priests abandon their pulpits and congregations, fleeing to the isolation of country homes. In Shelley’s version, American refugees invade Ireland, and then Scotland, murdering and looting their way south to the gates of London, before the son of the last […]

I love movie trailers

Contains spoilers for Million Dollar Baby (2005), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), and Charlie’s Angels (2019) I love movie trailers. That two-minute hit of emotion, the music, the character-establishing jokes and ‘stinger’ as they go out. It’s a high that I have spent too many hours combing YouTube for. A well-made trailer is the film distilled. […]