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A Brief Handbook of Revision for Writers

Progressive stages of revision eliminate incidence in favor of essence.

A Collection of Eyelashes on Paper

My son trims a curtain of lashes, immures them into a stray year.

A Distant Episode

The distant past returned—what part of it, he could not decide.

A Dress Rehearsal for the Apocalypse

History howls for direction so I remind him how the hero was lost.

A Final Conversation

I used bravado to protect myself when we lived in poverty.

A Funky Assortment of Plates

The preacher looked me in the eye. He laid his hand on my chest.

A Hint for Next Christmas

The presents you receive will not have been chosen with such care.

A Human History in the Wilderness

My grandfather committed my grandmother to a mental asylum.

A Lebanese Feast

Lebanon’s dreams of a homeland were fading with every rocket launch.

A Legendary Agent Reflects on Publishing

A Life with Bears

I want to focus on bears. On knowing them, and on what they need.

A Lot Going On Up There

The hawk moves out of the way to let a little hot package of breath rise up.

A Matter of Necessity

The survival of our world depends upon the cultivation of better language.

A Matter of Vocabulary

“We see you tryin’ to hide. Ain’t no use tryin’ to hide in God’s House.”

A Mirror of a Mirror

Have two children to keep around the house in case one goes missing.

A Model Prisoner

A Partial History of Lost Causes

Chess was a humiliation that hung over him like a leper’s bell.

A Personal Statement

“I’d like to talk to C about her personal statement,” Blattman said.

A Real Writer

Advance planning was never Hank’s strong suit, he had to leave her.

A Short Short Theory

Fiction, no matter how short or long, is the art form of human yearning.

A Small Blip on an Eternal Timeline

I grabbed him by the face and told him life only comes to a person once.

A Son of Baghdad

For me, Selweh was the real magic. She was nothing like my mother.

A Theory and Other Poems

I have, in the long solitude of my body, asked for something else.

A Wedding Story

The chocolate was old, dusty white, the way chocolate gets after many years.

A Writer’s Beginnings

I was writing copy for cheapo furniture for a crummy ad agency.

Adam’s Curse

To articulate sweet sounds together is to work harder than all these.

Adventures of a Would-Be Filmmaker

Since I am in my seventies, it is now or never, and I know it.

Advice for a Young Painter

Identify where you came from, where you are, and where you wish to go.

Again, the Body

They taught us do not touch it, but who can keep from touching it?

Agents: The Business of Writing

Art touches the soul and moves life in ways that commerce cannot. E. L. Doctorow noted that writers seem to get business ideas almost right.