Review in The Fifth Floor!

Review in The Fifth Floor!


Special thanks to Ellen McGrath Smith and Erika Fleegle for this lovely review of Eighty Days in The Fifth Floor.  This is a wonderful issue, featuring an interview with Sharon Flake and a feature on one of my most trusted writing mentors, Geeta Kothari.  And, as a bonus, the interview is by Rachel Sansonetti, one of my most talented students.

If you teach for long enough, you get to see your students interviewing teachers you had in college.  It’s a strange-yet-satisfying feeling, like watching a circuit complete itself.

EDOS in Pitt’s Official Alumni Magazine!

EDOS in Pitt’s Official Alumni Magazine!


Special thanks to Laura Clark Rohrer (for writing and editing the article) and to Robyn Coggins (for passing along my novel to Laura).

EDOS looks gorgeous in the “bookshelf” section of Pitt’s official alumni magazine, which reaches over 260,000 readers nationally.  If that’s not enough reason to pick up a copy, this issue is packed with literary stuff, including an interview with my former grad school classmates Katie Coyle and Rachel Mangini.  It also features writing by Pitt alums Micaela Corn, Libby Ferda, Matt Cichowicz, and Breanna Durham.

The description in detail:

Edos Pitt 2

Vouching, Star Wars Edition

Vouching, Star Wars Edition


When I walked out of the theater after seeing Episode I: The Phantom Menace, I finally understood that the universe was a cruel, indifferent wasteland and that existence was largely meaningless.  I knew that my heroes would go to dramatic lengths to disappoint me, and that any high points in life were merely buildups to some great cosmic letdown.  There was the sneaking suspicion that things I loved hadn’t been that great to begin with–I’d just blinded myself to their flaws.

Not to be dramatic, but as I walked across the parking lot, blinking in the harsh sunlight, I understood that my life from that point on was going to be a slow, steady march to the grave.  My childhood officially ended when I saw The Phantom Menace.  I was 22.

And now, Disney and J.J. Abrams want me to risk that experience again.  “It’s a different approach,” they say.  “We’re using practical effects instead of CGI,” they say.  I mean, I want to trust them.  They’re saying all the right things.  But I can’t help but think of Lucy with the football.  “No thanks,” is what I want to say.  Except…who am I kidding?  I know I’ll watch the movie, in the theater, when the lines die down and I’m ready.  Aside from the sneaking suspicion that this movie will be another gigantic disappointment, I’m worried that some bozo online is going to ruin it for me.  My original plan was to take a break from all social media until I got around to seeing The Force Awakens, but then I found this.

There’s a Chrome extension called Unspoiler that you can tailor to different shows and films (might I recommend The Wire, Seven, and Battlestar Galactica if you haven’t seen them).  I plugged in “Star Wars” to the program and it got to work, albeit a bit zealously:


And, as long as you’re viewing them through Chrome, it also works with social media:




I’m pretty sure that few of these red bars are actually covering spoilers.  I was pretty sure Brandon hadn’t seen the movie yet (since it isn’t out yet?), so I clicked on “Show spoiler”:


So, even though Unspoiler seems to be taking the “pray and spray” route, it’s still getting the job done.  And I’m okay with missing out on a few tweets and clickbait headlines until I actually get around to seeing the movie.

I’ll check in either way, but if I hate TFA, you won’t hear me caterwauling about it.  After being fooled by all three prequels, if I end up on my back, dizzy, the football unkicked, I’ll have no one to blame but myself.

Gulf Coast!

Gulf Coast!


What do Joy Castro, Thomas Williams, Bill Cheng, Kaitlyn Greendidge, Shanthi Sekaran, Sun Yung Shin, Yvette Benavides, Garrett Hongo, May-Lee Chai, Selena Anderson, Lee Herrick, Sil Sohn, Bich Minh Nguyen, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Tomas Morin, and Aimee Phan have in common?

They all have important stuff to say about diversity and the creative writing workshop, and I’m lucky to join them.  Special thanks once again to Matthew Salesses, who invited me to join this important conversation.