Loved The Big Short? Read Griftopia

Griftopia

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

Chapter 1

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

Five Things I Loved from 2015

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.
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My First Article for Via Magazine

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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.

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Kurt Vonnegut

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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

How to Write Less

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

Poem: Back Roads

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

Alice Munro

As soon as a man and woman of almost any age are alone together within four walls it is assumed that anything may happen. Spontaneous combustion, instant fornication, triumph of the senses. What possibilities men and women must see in each other to infer such dangers. Or, believing in the dangers, how often they must think about the possibilities.Alice Munro

Dave Eggers

I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love.What is the What

Past Due: Elmore Leonard

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.

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Haruki Murakami

A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side.Sputnik Sweetheart