Sand in the Gears

Hammering art

Friday, February 10th, 2017 Posted in The Artful Life | No Comments »

They say all great men have a morning routine, so I figured I ought to rush right out and get me one of those. I'll belabor the elements of that routine while subtly flattering myself for it some other time; ...

Against being against epiphanies

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Some of you may like my latest essay on the Good Letters channel at Patheos. It covers everything from Oliver Stone to a young Whittaker Chambers, with a slight dose of literary criticism mixed in. Here's an excerpt: I’ve been reading ...

Elect art

Friday, December 7th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off on Elect art

My latest short story is in the current edition of Image, for those of you with a literary bent. And for those of you bent theologically, in this case, because in my story John Calvin attends a writing workshop so ...

Confederacy of Dunces

Saturday, August 11th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

"They would try to make me into a moron who liked television and new cars and frozen food. Don't you understand? Psychiatry is worse than communism. I refuse to be brainwashed. I won't be a robot!" "But, Ignatius, they help out ...

Ten Thousand Hours with You

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

I recently discovered a delightful poem by David Kirby in Five Points, and thought I'd share a snippet of it with all of you: ... and you’d think that’d settle it, that the opera lovers of Tallahassee would let go of ...

Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, November 28th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 4 Comments »

"He sat in the dappled light among the stones. A bird sang. Some leaves were falling. He sat with his hands palm up on the grass beside him like a stricken puppet and he thought no thoughts at all." Suttree, Cormac ...

The trouble with poetry

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 6 Comments »

Adam Roberts begins a five-part manifesto on why you should be reading poetry: "I remember, as a young person, being posed the question, 'what kind of music do you like?,' and coolly, sensibly replying, 'everything but classical!' Now, as a graduate ...

Because I like books that begin with poems

Saturday, October 16th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off on Because I like books that begin with poems

I've begun reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to the boys. It's by Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux. She had me at the verse with which she begins her novel, excerpted from ...

Cormac McCarthy

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off on Cormac McCarthy

"Hey Worm, did you see old Crumbliss in the paper this mornin? What's he done now? They found him about six oclock this mornin under a tree in a big alfalfa field. He found the only tree in the whole field and ...

Wise Blood

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

"She felt justified in getting anything at all back that she could, money or anything else, as if she had once owned the earth and been dispossessed of it. She couldn't look at anything steadily without wanting it, and what ...

Art and criticism vs. the world

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

"Like legitimate art, legitimate criticism is a tragicomic holding action against entropy."  (John Gardner, On Moral Fiction, p. 6)

We was never much for yer books n such . . .

Monday, February 8th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on We was never much for yer books n such . . .

Writer and teacher Nancie Atwell on the distressing need to convince government education officials of the benefits of literature: ". . . giving corporate interests a role in setting education policy is like letting foxes supervise the henhouse. These foxes are ...

Does this cape make me look fat?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 Posted in Book Reviews, The Artful Life | 2 Comments »

My friend John Miller brings the smack on modern vampires. This may be a good way to sum it up: if your bloodsucker needs hair gel, he's really just a big thirsty sissy with bad teeth. In general, vampires ought ...

The Good, the Bad, and Flannery

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 17 Comments »

I'm in the midst of a writing frenzy at present, so for your reading pleasure I present an excerpt from Flannery O'Connor's "The Nature and Aim of Fiction," which may be found in the volume of her speeches and essays, ...

Gioia on Cultural Decline

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 6 Comments »

Since literature seems to be the theme this week, check out Dana Gioia's speech delivered at Stanford's commencement exercises. Some highlights: "There is an experiment I'd love to conduct. I'd like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how ...