Annals of Japery

February 4, 2016

It’s Time to Play…The Reissue Factor 1


Sorry, it’s a no for us. Lacks emotional depth and the saber-toothed tiger subplot felt forced.

January 29, 2016

Turn the Page: Your Next Rock ‘N’ Roll Book Club 0


Jimmy, I hear you plead, you’re the bard of the beachfront, the Wordsworth of the waves. You once released an album called License to Chill; you write songs about delicious cheeseburgers. Why kick things off with a harrowing, full-bore descent into the savage, blood-spattered heart of our long-dead modern dream?

November 24, 2015

Penny Dreadful: Writing on a Budget 0


When it came time to begin work on a new novel, I headed for a retailer that could help me break into the NYT bestseller list without breaking the bank.

November 2, 2015

#NaGrafWriMo: Welcome to National Paragraph Writing Month! 7


It can take more talent, determination, and hard work to write one good paragraph than an entire lousy book.

October 23, 2015

Thirteen Ways of Looking for Waldo 0


On the top tree branch of the tallest green pine in the deciduous forest / A man named Waldo squats naked cawing at the crows.

September 11, 2015

T-Shirts I Have Known: Part Two 0


To an 11-year-old desperate to inflict damage in the arms race of seventh-grade sexual obnoxiousness, “Big Johnson Erection Company” was a cotton nuclear bomb. “Big Johnson Erection Company” was more than a shirt. It was how I announced my regrettable eligibility as a viable sexual being.

August 18, 2015

Pick a Card, Any Card: Raymond Carver’s First Short Story 4


Carver’s distinctive style was established surprisingly early, as this recently-discovered story — found among the yellowing papers of his third-grade teacher at Yakima Elementary School — will attest.

August 17, 2015

How to Title Every Book You Ever Write 4


Get out your favorite album. Rank the tracks in order of how much you like them. Take the fourth song. Print out the lyrics to that song and black out any that are well known. From the remaining lyrics, choose either the first or second half of a complete thought. Note: It must be meaningless out of context.

June 12, 2015

No, No, Nanette: A Profile 3


I asked one last question before closing my notebook, one to which every writer and agent is dying to know the answer: Will Nanette ever decide to publish a book?