Write What You Know?

In which I question the sagacity of some so-called sage advice We writers have long had the adage “write what you know” lobbed at us, supposedly an encouragement to use our lives as fodder for crafting powerful stories. I started hearing it soon after expressing any sort of long-term interest in creative writing. It’s beenContinue reading “Write What You Know?”

The Apple of America’s Eye

In which I look at an old legend through a new lens In an example of excellent seasonal timing, today is the historian-approved birth date of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Remember him? The guy who planted all those trees? Yeah, you know him. He was born in 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts, to…to…youContinue reading “The Apple of America’s Eye”

Girl Next Door

In which I set something straight It came to my attention during a family phone conversation that I have misinterpreted the “girl next door” trope for most of my life. This stock character often appears in visual media as the primary love interest or counterpart (apparently) to the boy next door to her. The premiseContinue reading “Girl Next Door”

A Valediction Forbidding Cover Letters

In which I prepare to demolish a rightfully loathed tradition Okay, I’ll get straight to the point: Cover letters should never be mandatory. At most, they should be optional. Ideally we would do away with them altogether. This idea had been fermenting in my head ever since I began applying to Real Jobs/Internships as aContinue reading “A Valediction Forbidding Cover Letters”

Any Tom, Dick, or Karen; Any Tom, Karen, or Dick

In which I face the facts (i.e., the cold-hearted cynic I am inside) This title cleverly references not only a number from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, but also the one-time husband of Karen Carpenter, Tom Burris. He serves no other purpose in this post. It came as absolute and very recent news to meContinue reading “Any Tom, Dick, or Karen; Any Tom, Karen, or Dick”

Why Is Love So Hard?

In which I indulge in a little armchair psychology Distinct non-philosopher that I am, I’ve lately had occasion to dwell on the idea of love and why that idea often differs so drastically from the reality. (Nothing in particular has happened; in fact it’s what hasn’t happened that constitutes, as a friend of mine soContinue reading “Why Is Love So Hard?”

Warren Beatty Reacts to “You’re So Vain” (A McSweeney’s Castoff)

In which I house a homeless monologue Here follows a piece which was rejected by not one but TWO online humor mags, one being the illustrious McSweeney’s Internet Tendency of Boston. Given the double distinction, I felt it merited self-publication. It is, I think, no meaner than the song. • It was a yacht party,Continue reading “Warren Beatty Reacts to “You’re So Vain” (A McSweeney’s Castoff)”

Album Review: SONGS OF INNOCENCE

In which I celebrate an uncelebrated curio Surprise! You thought you’d left this album in the dust, huh? Apple product users will remember it as the one that automatically streamed when U2 released it nearly six years ago. As an involuntary addition to millions of music libraries, it was also largely unwelcome; people griped aboutContinue reading “Album Review: SONGS OF INNOCENCE”

A Love Letter to José Carioca, Rio de Janeiro

In which the past catches up with me My dear Joe, We met at least twenty years ago, so I’ve always considered you a friend, but it’s different now. Aside from the standard byproduct of aging that causes one to see the hallmarks of childhood in a new light and with a new appreciation, IContinue reading “A Love Letter to José Carioca, Rio de Janeiro”

How *Am* I?

In which I do not seriously ask that question, thank God Language is weird. My relationship to language learning has always been marked both by eagerness and a measure of trepidation, an uncertainty born of having to consciously try. I grew up in a monolingual household—it’s been at least two generations since either side ofContinue reading “How *Am* I?”