Tony Woodlief | Author


Ten stories you can read if you don’t like men with hairy bellies and cats

A lot of people are talking about a short story in The New Yorker right now. A short story. If you care at all about writing and literature and the seemingly inexorable Western slide into voluntary aliteracy, this seems like a good thing. But so maybe “Cat Person” isn’t for you. Some people want to read …

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It doesn’t come with a parking spot, but it’s still pretty darn nice

The good people at Image Journal have named me their artist of the month. I like being reminded that writers are artists, and I’m honored to be included among the many fine artists—of all stripes—who have been similarly recognized by Image in the past. Here’s an excerpt from the kind things they say about me: …

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Finally, fiction from me that doesn’t involve death or melancholy or predestination or anything else likely to induce heavy drinking. It’s all dialogue, and I wrote it years ago whilst sitting utterly uninspired and bored in a large corporate bureaucracy. And the good people at Work Literary Magazine saw fit to publish it. Here’s an excerpt: …

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How we bless

I’m happy to announce that every couple of weeks I’ll be writing essays for Good Letters, the blog over at Image. Some of you will recognize Image as one of my favorite literary journals, and so you’ll know how honored I am that they asked me to join them. My first essay went up a …

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Wise Blood

“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 provoked her most was the thought that there might be something valuable hidden near her, …

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I just found out I scored a mention in the 2010 Pushcart Anthology for my short story, “Name,” which was published last year in Image. And the good people at Ruminate nominated my story, “The Glass Child,” for a Pushcart this year. If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts for your more discerning loved ones …

Cart-pushing Read More »

Traveling circles

So what do I have in common with Annie Dillard, Ron Hansen, Kathleen Norris, and Valerie Sayers? We’re all in Image Journal’s 20th-anniversary anthology, Bearing the Mystery. You should buy a copy.

The Glass Child

If you’re looking for a counterweight to my usual cheeriness, you might get yourself the latest issue of Ruminate, which has my short story, “The Glass Child.” Here’s the opening paragraph: This is the blood, David tells himself. He twists open the bottle and pours its dark content into a blue plastic cup. The label …

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Sometimes the words don’t seem like they’ll get close to the truth of anything, and so I just stop writing. That’s not completely true; I’ll write fiction perhaps, because those people in the stories inside my head haven’t yet worked themselves into corners where the words are like sunfaded fabric or covered-over grass or the sigh …

Weary Read More »


Some of you may enjoy my latest Wall Street Journal essay, about modern friendships. In a nutshell: though I have more Facebook friends than my four-year old Isaac, I’m pretty sure that’s a poor indication of who is more loved.

Shut it. Literally.

Okay, here’s the thing. “Literally” doesn’t mean “really.” It’s not a word that you put in front of some other words to show that, unlike the rest of your lackluster sentence, this is the part you really totally completely, like, absolutely mean. And it doesn’t mean figuratively, or metaphorically. “Literally” means that it actually happened. So …

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