This past year, The Big Short, a movie about Wall Street greed and myopia, channelled middle class anger at the one percent. After laughing for a few hours, most people emerged from the theater both nauseated and confused, wondering how supposedly smart people could be so stupid as to nearly bring down the global economy. Ironically, the film’s heroes—renegades within the financial industry who made big money betting against conventional wisdom—were the people who made out like bandits as pretty much everyone else suffered. But they weren’t crooks. They made a straight bet to short the market based on what they saw happening.
Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia, on the other hand, is about the crooks. And if The Big Short made you upset, Griftopia will make you want to scream like a hungover stockbroker berating a barista for forgetting the third espresso shot. Continue reading
There’s nothing like a brush with mortality to push someone toward achieving a goal. While I plan on remaining healthy, if something were to change, I wouldn’t want to look back and say, “I had a second chance to fulfill my dream, but I didn’t.” So, after five years of toying around with a novel, I will publish it this year.
In the coming months, I will be reaching out to some of you to serve as readers and provide me with feedback as I edit the novel. If you’re interested in being a part of this process, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, although the final product will no doubt change between now and publication, without further ado, here is a draft of the first chapter of my first novel, The Secret of Falling: Continue reading
Last year, back when I was a cultured patron of the arts, I put out a list of 14 things from 2014 I loved. I’ve been a bit busier this year. Between having a child and sidestepping a stem cell transplant, my wife and I have subsisted on a pop culture diet of Netflix material that can be digested in 10 minute increments (in between baby cries). Several of the gems I did find were from before 2015. So instead of recommending The Wire to fellow late adopters, I’ll limit this year’s selections to one 2015 release from each of the following categories: television, film, music, books and podcasts.
The human heart is like a nightbird. Silently waiting for something, and when the time comes, it flies straight toward it.
– Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Photo by Vincent Anderlucci
Every few months, I dream that everyone I love is dead. Continue reading
In the halcyon days before diaper changes and insurance copays, I received an assignment from Via Magazine to write a short article highlighting five places that travelers should eat/see/go in Midtown Reno. My wife and I took the assignment very seriously, leaving no cheese shop or artisanal cupcakery untested. Somehow, after much deliberation—and dessert—we narrowed the list down to five and I submitted my article to Via.
So the day became one of waiting, which was, he knew, a sin: moments were to be experienced; waiting was a sin against both the time that was still to come and the moments one was currently disregarding. Still, he was waiting.
– Neverwhere Continue reading
Every year, critics come out with top-10 lists and best-of-year reviews, yet almost every one of them tries to beg out of the process. “How can you say X was better than Y?” they ask. “Why does it have to be just 10?” I can appreciate their thinking, but I still love lists. And if Buzzfeed is any indication, readers do too. So here are 14 things from 2014 that I loved: Continue reading
The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
– A Man Without a Country
Most people write too much. Remember the junior high school version of you who was told to write a minimum of three pages for an essay? You clawed and scratched and cajoled that word count higher. But guess what? You still weren’t concise. You took three pages to write something that could have been expressed in one. And when you turned it in, you hoped the teacher wouldn’t notice you were full of crap. Continue reading
I don’t often write poetry. I’m hard on my work and I worry that my poems can be cloying and sappy. Then again, I myself am attracted to a bit of sentimentality in others’ poetry. I pulled this old piece out of a journal a little while back. It was something I wrote in college when I was feeling nostalgic for my coming of age in small-town America. Reading over the poem, however, I discovered that it didn’t really make sense. (“Isn’t that the case with most poetry?” you ask.) Continue reading
Komorebi is a word I’ve been searching for all my life. It comes up often in the poems and stories I write–where I take a paragraph to describe something the Japanese have packed into a single gorgeous word. Continue reading
Elmore Leonard always seemed like one of those authors I should get around to reading. He was a popular writer, and in my mind I associated him with a Dennis Lehane or a James Ellroy. Not that I would know—I’ve never read them either. Like most voracious readers, my bookshelf is stocked with books I will never read by authors I’ve been told I will like.