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 Prophecy Is Nothing

It’s so easy these days to receive what you thought you needed.

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 Trailer by the River

The thought of entertaining our relatives filled me with horror.

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.