“Exit Ariel”

I’m not much of a theater person (though I’m crossing my fingers that we get to 33 Variations before it closes) but when I came across this quote from one of my favorite playwrights, Tom Stoppard, I knew I’d have to post it. On the difference between drama and theatre: Years and years ago, there […]

Arr! Avast! Prepare to be boarded!

Yar har har, me hearties. It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day today, a holiday endorsed by scurvy Dave Barry himself (so it must be legit!). Talking like a salty sea dog is quite simple, thanks to Robert Newton. He be the scurvy dog what gave Long John Silver a West Country accent (which, […]

Tuesday’s tools: Roughdraft

(This is the second in an ongoing series about tools for writers. For the first post in the series, see Submission Tracker Roundup.) I have to say, my love for Roughdraft borders on the irrational. There are lots of free word processors for PC users out there, starting with WordPad. Why download another piece of […]

PSA from your resident grumpy writer: avoid cliches

Avoid cliches like the plague if you want your writing to improve. You’ve heard that before, I know, but seriously–you need another cliche-infested sentence like you need a hole in the head. I believe it was George Orwell who said that if a phrase even rings familiar, it’s a cliche. So we’re not talking about […]

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

My Metro book (small enough to fit in a bag, can be read with one hand while straphanging) last week was Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, a story about average Richard Mayhew who “falls through the cracks” and finds himself in London Below, or the Underground. Here Earl’s Court really has an earl, Shepherd’s Bush has shepherds […]

Freelance writing: submission tracker roundup

I’ve been freelancing a little since my move to DC, and it’s only served to remind me of how badly I need a way to keep my ideas, submissions, queries, and other files organized. When I used a PC I used Sonar (more on that later), but on my Mac options seem to be few […]

Kanthapura, by Raja Rao

The day dawned over the Ghats, the day rose over the Blue Mountain, and churning through the grey, rapt valleys, swirled up and swam across the whole air. The day rose into the air and with it rose the dust of the morning, and the carts began to creak round the bulging rocks and the […]

Small newspaper ethics

Came across this link in my travels today: Post Register Staff Disclosure Conflicts Okay, so the president of the paper is running for governor of the state, the acting executive editor is married to an important school official, but the paper seems to be handling these potential conflicts as well as could be hoped. I […]

Gravity’s Rainbow

The first book I dug into this year was Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s 750-page monster. (Although, what of Pynchon’s work couldn’t be considered a monster by those standards?) It was my first exposure to Pynchon besides The Crying of Lot 49, which I’m told is not his best work by any means. What can I […]

Dave Eggers is weird.

I recently finished Dave Eggers’ first novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. This book messed with my mind. He makes such a big deal in the (very elaborate, gimmicky) preface about how true the book is, that I was inclined to believe none of it. Then, at the end of the paperback edition, there’s […]