Want success as a writer? Get rejected.

So argues Kim Liao, persuasively,  in Lit Hub. She said she managed 43 rejections last year — a personal best. Last year, I got rejected 43 times by literary magazines, residencies, and fellowships—my best record since I started shooting for getting 100 rejections per year. It’s harder than it sounds, but also more gratifying. In late 2011, aContinue reading “Want success as a writer? Get rejected.”

A country Nirvana song via Sturgill Simpson

NPR and Rolling Stone today both note the arrival of new country star Sturgill Simpson’s version of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” The second song on the epochal Nevermind album, universally agreed to be the band’s masterpiece, and as well Country Love’s fave song on the record, Sturgill completely upends it. Sez me. The Nirvana version isContinue reading “A country Nirvana song via Sturgill Simpson”

A prayer for the earth: Pope Francis

On Valentine’s Day, one can’t overlook (well, one can, but shouldn’t) love for the earth from which we came. From “Praise Be” from Pope Francis, a prayer for the earth [passage 178]: A prayer for our earth All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embraceContinue reading “A prayer for the earth: Pope Francis”

Woody Guthrie on Trump: “Racial Hate”

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and excellent Facebooker, quotes the fierce American folk singer, poet, and labor activist Woody Guthrie on an important man from the past who is still with us today. Donald Trump and his father Fred. Quote of the day: “I suppose Old Man Trump knows Just how much… Racial Hate heContinue reading “Woody Guthrie on Trump: “Racial Hate””

David Foster Wallace, loneliness, and the confusions of Eros

A poet named Nate Klug strikes to the heart in a recent Poetry Daily entry called Aporia: Aporia Not little by little, as concerto strings or doctrines like to disappear, leaving time to think. No—skin pulled taut around jaw and fierce cheek, seen from the side in the sea of the bed: none now thatContinue reading “David Foster Wallace, loneliness, and the confusions of Eros”

Ken Burns on Yosemite

A couple of years ago Ken Burns gave a talk in San Gabriel about one of his favorite subjects, Yosemite, and said I thought many wise things, most especially: “This couldn’t have happened any place else. It is the Declaration of Independence applied to the landscape; the full expression of the democratic experience,” Burns said.Continue reading “Ken Burns on Yosemite”

Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving (aka “Compassion”)

Last Thanksgiving, the NYTimes published an unusually good op-ed on an unusually fraught subject: how to survive Thanksgiving with difficult relatives. Written by Henry Alford, it began something like this: Like you, I have often wondered, “How might a hostage negotiator help the average American family get through Thanksgiving?” I’ve had this thought not because ofContinue reading “Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving (aka “Compassion”)”

The silence of the deniers: Toles

Besides being the best political cartoonist on the subject of climate and the environment, and actually funny as well, Tom Toles publishes almost as many sketches as he does full-fledged cartoons, plus he has a fiery but smart blog in the Washington Post which he often talks about, yes, climate. As in today’s The SoundContinue reading “The silence of the deniers: Toles”