A Brief Handbook of Revision for Writers

Progressive stages of revision eliminate incidence in favor of essence.

A Day in the Life of Woman Cartoonist

I'll rid the world of bad things. But first, I need to get more coffee.

A Final Conversation

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

A Life with Bears

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

A Master at Work

Man is always beginning everything anew, even in his own life.

A Matter of Necessity

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

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 Word, Please

Adventures of a Would-Be Filmmaker

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

After Noguchi and Other Poems

Crows rasp from branches, scatter debris across unfinished plots.

Afternoon Happiness

Here is my aphorism of the day: Happy people are monogamous.

Algonquin’s Legendary Editor

The excuse, of course, was that men had to support families.

All-American Poem

You can go from one town square to another and never fall in love.

All-American Poem

We need the opportunity to dance with really exquisite strangers.

Amanda Strayhorn, Reverend’s Wife

She countered the reverence of his efforts stroke by stroke, tit for tat.


He was gentle and slow, like a blind man washing dishes.

Ann Beattie


In other words, beachfronts like Bolaño’s and mine are Nowhere.

Best Advice

Always know the creative life begins again and again.

Best Advice

To see—and to see properly—is the writer’s central responsibility.

Best Advice

“Ten lo,” she says when you’ve finished. Have it.

Best Advice

Getting answers is easy. The difficult thing is knowing the right questions.

Best Advice

Writing is a subversive activity that exempts you from the rules.

Best Advice

My advice can be succinctly expressed in three words: Persist, persist, persist!

Best Advice

Needless to say, when it was my night to read I was beyond terrified.

Best Advice

It holds a place in my heart: Never forget the suspenders.

Best Advice

Truths don’t eclipse each other—they only complicate each other.

Best of Sex Writing

I am always hungry & wanting to have sex. This is a fact.

Beyond the Glass Ceiling There’s Sky

If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.