On Writing?

The Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik wrote this in the middle of one of her poems in 1965 (when she was 29) and it made me think of the writing process:

“And there is, in this waiting,

a rumor of breaking lilac.

And there is, when the day arrives,

a division of the sun into smaller black suns.

And at night, always,

a tribe of mutilated words

looks for refuge in my throat…”

In Spanish, it’s a little different, but the same idea (for example, “espera” could mean “waiting” or “hoping” in this context, etc.):

“Hay, en la espera,
un rumor a lila rompiéndose.
Y hay, cuando viene el día,
una partición del sol en pequeños soles negros.
Y cuando es de noche, siempre,
una tribu de palabras mutiladas
busca asilo en mi garganta…”

Bridge Jumping: On Writing and Failure (pics and video)

I jumped off of a bridge into the Willamette River after school the other day. It was a cold water day – snow run-off – but some young people wanted to know a safe place to do a big jump into the water, so I showed them where a deep enough channel was. See the pics of that jump below.

This jump reminded me of a story, a failure story, and I told it at my reading at the University of Oregon. Click here to see me tell that story (just posted by my publisher, Ben Leroy, this morning).

Here’s a pic of five of us jumping at once (me on the right). Click to expand the pic:

all five







And here’s the next pic when I’m out of the screen, the other four still in the air:








And finally, this is the swim out to the South bank into the cottonwoods, staying together because the water was cold:

swimming out


Rejection Limerick?

I just received a rejection from a literary journal, and although I only read the form-rejection email once, I’m pretty sure it went like this:

We just read your pathetic attempt at a story

At the end, three editors were snoring

We turned it around

Flipped the page upside down

Yet the manuscript was still incredibly boring.

On Hosting Ghost Readings (Failing Writer #35).

Did Hemingway ever have a public reading where only his wife showed?

Did Faulker ever talk in front of a crowd that didn’t materialize?

Does Toni Morrison?

I know Sherman Alexie and David Sedaris pull huge crowds.  Always.

But not me (Note: In Seattle).

New piece for Ampheta’Zine:

Click here.

Failing Writer #24.

I may have gotten ten fiction rejections in the last two weeks, but I’ve been wearing The Natural’s jersey all week, seven days in a row, and it’s hard to feel bad when you are Brandon Roy at the keyboard, ambidextrous, fearless in the lane, capable of making any game worth watching.

Everyday Dirtbag Entry #94.

What do they say about the best laid plans?

Jennie and I were climbing a VB highball warm-up at the Sisters Boulders Saturday evening when Jennie said, “We should climb 100 boulder routes these next three days.”

I immediately agreed.  That involves two of my favorite activities:  Climbing and counting.

We started.

Five routes in, everything looked good.

Ten routes in, I was warmed-up and happy.

The eleventh route was a sit-start, bad-holds dyno V5 and I onsighted it.


Then I went to my eternal project, failed, failed again, fell six times, and it got dark.  Even by headlamp, I couldn’t see the divot for the middle finger on the pinch lunge.

Still stuck on send number 11.

No worries.  Two more days to get the rest of the routes.

Then it rained on Sunday.  Rained harder.  Rained until late at night.  Rained a little more this morning.  Sprinkled, misted, rained, then sprinkled  again.  Threatened to get sunny, then sprinkled one last time.

When it finally got dry enough to climb, I had a half-hour.  That’s it.

I climbed a VO warm-up, kept climbing, and……

Total boulder problems sent in three days:  16.