A Brief Handbook of Revision for Writers

Progressive stages of revision eliminate incidence in favor of essence.

A Center

If others call you a maniac or a fool, just let them wag their tongues.

A Distant Episode

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

A Dream of Ease

I shoved them one by one, easy as pie yet with care, just shy of mercy.

A Few Delicate Needles

It’s so delicate, the light. And there’s so little of it. The dark is huge.

A Final Conversation

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

A Fragmented Diary in a Fragmented Time

We take our solace, in a time of malaise and mourning, in the close-at-hand.

A Happy Birthday

I wanted to ride this day down into night, to smooth the unreadable page.

A Map to Now

I thought my body was mine until it a map anyone could use.

A Master at Work

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

A Place Like This

I can see on him how things are changing for and against us.

A Real Writer

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

A Secret Space

Two weeks after she and Mark were married, Hannah fell in love.

A Serious Desert

All over the planet people try to end pain: striptease, bee stings.

A Short Short Theory

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

A Small Hotel

The allure of Mardi Gras is to feel this way: unseen and unseeable.

A Storyteller’s Story

Americans have always a kind of tenderness for cheat.

A Walkabout in Andrew Wyeth’s Painting and Other Poems

My bike, my skinny body, my pent breath was thrown to the grass.

A. Roolette? A. Roolette?

She remembers that golden ocean, the promise of a whole new land.

A. Roolette? A. Roolette?

She remembers that golden ocean, the promise of a whole new land.


However hard you try to make amends, they will still condemn you.


I’ll see you on the sea, they say, but then they float past on a raft

Aeneas Leaves Kansas

All night the insects’ grinding jaws chewed through the darkness.

After War

The author reflects on a soldier‘s experience, in just six words.

Afternoon and After

The event was an accelerator. So much matter crashed, vaporized.


If everyone’s lost on the roads, you might as well fly. Enjoy your life.


Waiting for a cure, waiting for the closeout sale, the black sail.

An Abstract of My Research

For one hundred years I followed old people to learn what I was in for.

An Hour Ago

In the morning light, I could hear Bashō hard at work.

An Instance of Love

We have harvested nothing more than the stench of middle age.