The United States Department of State

Referred to as the State Department, State, and DOS, the U.S. Department of State was yesterday slandered with a dangerous new label. I don’t care about the insult. Hearing “deep state department” from those lips glances off as a meaningless jab. I’ve long inured myself against the public bluster. What concerns me more is the … Continue reading The United States Department of State

The Great Iskander!

Favored by Alexander the Great, named for its inventor Iskender Efendi, five simple ingredients make this dish go POP. The flavor prunes the back of your tongue and sends it down your throat. Such creamy tang! The Chicken Iskender, my favorite dish, it must be shared with family. But, they are vegetarian…. What to do? Make … Continue reading The Great Iskander!

A Novel Coronavirus Novel

Will sustained isolation lead to a baby boom or a novel boom? Long before COVID-19, the most recent novel coronavirus to come along, I’d toyed with the idea of writing a novel called A Novel. As is usually the case in the life of a novelist, however, I ran into a few problems right off … Continue reading A Novel Coronavirus Novel

Phenomenal Women

On International Women’s Day, I’m thinking about all the phenomenal women I admire around the world, including the nameless, faceless, toiling women who sow and reap the corn they’ll dry and grind into the flour they’ll pound and cook to feed their families in between their hours at the river beating clothes against the stones … Continue reading Phenomenal Women

COVID, or Covfefe?

Covfefe is the sound of an old man choking on his attempt to say "COVID" While forced isolation has us looking for ways to pass the time at home, I look for something meaningful to read and settle on Poe. The meandering path of my literary pursuit began this morning with Book Fight!, a Podcast … Continue reading COVID, or Covfefe?

When I’m Not Writing

This is what I write about when I'm not writing: Stuff I read The ice in my drink vs the bell around my cat's neck Titles of books I'd like to write The news Rage at the universe when the universe applies its whims inexorably against my wishes Politics Things I think are funny but … Continue reading When I’m Not Writing

Blogging in the Filter Bubble

The new Internet doesn’t just know you’re a dog; it knows your breed and wants to sell you a bowl of premium kibble. Eli Pariser’s 2009 The Filter Bubble is a call to self-reflection on how we represent ourselves—consciously and unconsciously—in the digital age. “You click on a link, which signals an interest in something, … Continue reading Blogging in the Filter Bubble

About Mohamed

Every year this time my thoughts turn to Mohamed (his story is here). I had reason to conjure his story this fall and found the image below. Pictured is the American Library, Kabul, circa 1958. Is this the building where Mohamed learned to love the United States? Where he read American authors and watched American movies? … Continue reading About Mohamed

Publication vs Glory

When I feel lonely in my writing I turn for companionship to John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. The title provides added comfort, referring to Gardner's concise review of our trade as “Notes on Craft for Young Writers," implying that those who should benefit from it—and I benefit from it every time I open it up—are … Continue reading Publication vs Glory

Gandhi at 150

It's been 150 years since Gandhi's birth, initiating a circle that goes round today. This year Gandhi Jayanti falls on the fourth day of Navratri, and so we've made his iconic ashram part of our annual display. It's nearly finished, this replica of his simple home on the banks of the Sabarmati River in Gujarat. … Continue reading Gandhi at 150