What this blog is about

Writing and publishing mystery novels, poetry and memoirs, guitars and guitar gear, having a young family well into middle-age, crazy old houses, atrial fibrillation, maybe some politics, and any other shiny object that happens to catch my interest. Starting with the basics: I published a lot of poetry between 1990 and 2001 in lots of journals--places like The New Republic, FIELD, Tikkun, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, and The Iowa Review. I also have a couple of books out from Oberlin College Press (my first book, Vanitas Motel, won the FIELD prize in 1997), and have lucked into a few nice fellowships and prizes--the big ones being two winter writing fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Halls Fellowship in Poetry from UW-Madison, plus a couple of state arts council grants and several residencies at Yaddo. In fact, I started writing HIGH SEASON my first summer at Yaddo as a kind of mental getaway from the second book of poems; I was suffering from long-form prose envy, not to mention a degree of infatuation with several of the leggy girl fiction writers in attendance. I wrote about twenty pages in two days, and went around saying "this fiction thing is easy!" It took me almost six years to finish the mystery, which I dropped until 2001, picking it up again when the poetry project of the moment seemed to be foundering. I just couldn't write the book I was working on--a grim and self-consciously academic epistolary thing based on the lives of Abelard and Heloise--in the shadow of 9/11. I needed to work on something fun--and the mystery was definitely that. More about the other stuff soon.

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