Essays

In May 2015, Verbivoracious Festschrift, Volume III: The Syllabus, which includes brief streaks of writing about 100 books (I wrote about Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories), appeared — it’s edited by an irrepressible youth known as M.J. Nicholls of Glasgow and Goodreads.

On September 23, 2014, Memorious posted a little essayette about how I like the way Thomas Mann likes to endanger solitary young men.

In August or maybe September 2014, Barrelhouse published its 13th issue, which includes an essay I contributed called “Thomas Bernhard and the Comedy of Complaint” — in part, it envisions Thomas Bernhard’s experience on Twitter. Here’s a photo of a page from the essay that compiles a few of  Bernhard’s remarks about writers from his novel Extinction.

On July 21, 2014, the London-based 3AM Magazine posted an essay/review called Literary Citizenship Depletes Crystal Count and Other Controversial Claims. As noted in the title, I intended for some of what I wrote to be a bit controversial — and it was!

In 2014, I had three dense slabs of text posted at Full Stop. The first bit went up on April 17, 2014 — it’s called Accounting for Taste and includes two illustrations that maybe make me look (in the best possible way) a little like a cross between ET and Mark E. Smith. The second bit went up on April 22, 2014 — it’s a longish one-paragraph spiel mostly about good old American Minimalism in fiction called The Great American Richards. The third one — called Agents on the Beach — went up on August 20. It’s about the ebb and flow of enthusiasm related to literary creation and responses from agents.

Two quotations that appeared in this interview on Vice also appear on interstitial pages (ie, black pages separating proper essays) in the collection of essays, MFA vs NYC published by n + 1 in February 2014. I wrote about it a bit on goodreads.

On November 7, 2013, A Prayer for Lost Phones appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and then in April 2015 in A Book of Uncommon Prayer: An Anthology of Everyday Invocations Edited by Matthew Vollmer, published by Outpost19.

On December 10, 2012, Full Stop posted a longish essay (~5K words) about Goodreads, critical takedowns, and reviewing in general. This also appears in Full Stop: The Book, which came out in September 2016 and is definitely worth a look.

An essay about walking and reading (“libambulating”) came out on Swink in April 2011. I tend to libambulate daily in the warmer months, covering about three miles/15 pages a day at lunch, plus another three miles if I walk to/from work instead of bike. A very short essayistic thing about walking while reading War and Peace in Philadelphia was also part of “Field-Tested Books” from Coudal Partners in the late-’00s too.

BANRR07 An essay about Barry Bonds and steroids and the good ol’ USA that once was published in Barrelhouse is also in the Best American Non-Required Reading 2007. This essay, written in 2005, argues that Bonds and steroids are distractions from unseen/icebergian issues up ahead: turns out I was unconsciously referring to the credit-default swaps/mortgage crisis at the time taking shape that eventually helped capsize the economy in 2008. This is also in an excellent anthology of essays from Barrelhouse.

In 2005, an essay about my half-Jewishness appeared in an anthology from Soft Skull Press called Half-Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes.