Once a Writing Professor

Who wants to hire a private professor?

Doing My Laundry With Jimmy Carter

“I’m no expert,” she reminded me for the second time in the conversation, “but life used to be about what you did for other people.”

Morning Tea and Coffee and Living With a Writer

I was shocked. I couldn’t believe something that came out of my head made powerful people react like that.

Time Out From Facebook After the Paris Attacks.

“Facebook,” I said to Luz last night, “is very bad for my health.” She agreed.

#FeelTheBern, on simmer

I’m the picture of a political grinch in 2015, jaded, complaining about how the country has been dragged hard to the right since 1980.

Not Quite Ready to Write Yet

Imagine. Imagine. Imagine. I thought. Someday I’ll be the greatest writer ever, and everyone will have to think so!

Poetic Honesty

I’m quite often ashamed by what I see in retrospect, often deeply embarrassed by how I’ve behaved recently.

Attack on Paris

The first thing they taught us about the modern world was the French Revolution.

Medium Stakes Writing

High stakes writing is writing that counts, for a grade or some other value judgment. Low stakes writing is what you try to do to get yourself started.

Writing About Writing About Writing

It was one of those meetings in which a person comes to you for advice, praises your expertise and accomplishments for the first fifteen minutes, and then contradicts everything you say about your field of expertise for the next forty-five.

The Mental Health Journals, Part 1

Yesterday morning I collapsed onto my writing desk and sobbed for half an hour. This had been building for two weeks.


Few people understand that her career has always been a team effort.

A Speech For My Mother’s Birthday

The strange Internet story of the speech I gave at my mother’s 60th birthday party.

Twitter for Reading

I used to skim five newspapers every day, digesting all the headlines and reading up on developing stories. That was before Twitter.

A Permanent Methane Cloud

She graduated from one of the better-known journalism programs in the early 90s, used her business savvy to land herself a sweet job, used her charm and her talent to earn the beat she’d always wanted: Global Warming.

The Iraq War Prophecies

I remember a long bus ride to Washington D.C., en route to march in protest of the coming Iraq War. It was early 2003.

Saturday Night: a true story

Years before my life without you, we were leaving the supermarket we worked for, heading out to look for drinks, to meet women, when you spotted one staggering to her knees outside the adjacent drug store.

Overworked: a prose poem

And then we’re snapping at each other over something stupid, something insignificant and not worth the emotion.

Literary Depression: a pedagogical story

Last week I told my students that I used to be suicidal. We were thirty minutes into discussing Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

What If He Comes Back With a Gun?

Someone in the back of the class muttered what I assumed many others were also thinking.

Bloody Dreams Of My College Years

Through my four years of college, and for one year after graduation, I worked in the meat department of a local grocery store.

Growing Up With Violence

My father was insane from the Vietnam War, abusive; my mother used to fight him off with anything she could grab.

On the Phone w/ #njpoet

At a lecture, presentation, orientation, whatever, quietly speed tapping notes into a word-processing app on my phone.

Occupy Killed the Media Star

It was a simple shot—casual, yet dynamic. The reporter would speak his lines while strolling through Zuccotti Park. But Zuccotti Park was not cooperating.

10 Time Saving Tips for Writers

a list

The Mourning After: for my father

War is still eating our families.

Phil Donahue Gave Me Writer’s Block

I walked into the NJ Peace Action annual dinner, a notebook in my hand, my head full of activism.

After Depression

“It’s like I finally found the right pair of glasses,” I told a doctor friend I’ve known since I was seventeen.

Worker Poet

I was told by all the adults, the authority figures, that I had no other choice.