Writing for the gladiators....

Think about those who haven’t long to live, who know that everything is over and done with, except the time in which the thought of their end unrolls. Deal with that time. Write for the gladiators. . . .

– E. M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born


I've always loved this aphorism from the great pessimistic existential philosopher E. M. Cioran. There was even a brief time when I flirted with inking it into my skin before my friends' literary tattoo book came out. Writers are normally told to write for themselves, that the only thing that matters is that the work works for you. This is not true. Even when you are writing for yourself, you are conscious of the weight of the other's eyes. How will it sound to someone else who is not trapped in your head?


recent things, past things, future things

Recent things:

- "The Grandmaster Hoax" at The Paris Review Daily (an essay on chess, robots, and mysterious deaths)
"Twosome" in NOON 2012 (a short story in one of my absolute favorite journals...not available online, but the issue should be in stores now)
"A Note on the Type" in elimae (a short story about typefaces, jealousy, and intrigue)
- Art of the Sentence: Lincoln Michel in Tin House (a short essay on my favorite sentences by Franz Kafka)

Past things:

I've finally gotten around to creating a page to list (most) of my publications. I say most because I left off some of my early poems and stories that will hopefully be lost to history, and only listed select non-fiction pubs. Otherwise if, for some bizarre reason, you want to peruse my old stories and such you can.

Future things: 

Fiction forthcoming in Unsaid, The Fiddleback, and an anthology of presidential flash fiction. Some essays in the work as well as a killer comic collab with John Dermot Woods. More on those things at some future point.


uncanny mechanics

Over at The Paris Review Daily, I wrote about the 18th-century chess playing automaton known as The Turk:

The Turk became a spectacular attraction, thrilling, baffling, and terrifying viewers across Europe and America for decades. His victims included Benjamin Franklin, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon. In one account of that match, Napoleon, in perhaps telling fashion, moved first—despite the fact that the Turk was playing white—and then attempted illegal move after illegal move until the Turk, fed up with these shenanigans, swiped the pieces off the board with a stiff wooden arm.

Check it out! 


R.I.P. Moebius. One of the greatest ever.

I was very sad to hear about the passing of Jean Giraud aka Moebius aka Gir. Moebius was one of my favorite artists ever. His line work is insanely intricate, his colors are phenomenal, and his works are haunting, surreal, dreamy, and supremely beautiful.

His books are sadly hard to find in the United States, and in generally he isn't nearly as known as he should be. If you haven't read his comics, you will probably still recognize his aesthetic from concept art and storyboard work he did on films like Alien, Tron and The Fifth Element.

Below is sampling of his work. You can find many more here. Stare in wonder:


new story in elimae

I have a story up in the new issue of the always great elimae. It is about typefaces and begins:

This work has been set in Berdych, a typeface named after Antun Berdych who was a prominent typesetter and printer in the early years of the 17th century. The typeface was originally designed as a stunted, incongruous font with the kerning between the glyphs inconsistent and the vowels improperly rounded.

This is actually my first work of fiction in elimae, but they have published poems of mine in 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.