Turning Points

The First Time I Got Paid to Write

My first screenwriting gig, a skateboarding chimpanzee, and a hospital cancer ward.

Mar 24, 2017
Losing My Voice and Finding It

In the quiet forced upon me, I started to hear the voices of other selves.

Feb 15, 2017
How Solange and Morgan Parker Inspired Me to Write My Heroine

I thought I had to make myself smaller, quieter, in order to survive.

Dec 20, 2016
The Palette Knife; or, How I Rewrote My Book

It wasn’t a matter of finding my voice, but listening to it. It had been there all along.

Oct 19, 2016
Beyond the Realm of Prosody: The year I spent writing sonnets

How I wrote a failed sonnet that turned into my fourth novel.

Sep 22, 2016
Throwing It Out and Starting Again

“I now see fiction—my own and that of others—as work paused but never finished.”

Aug 25, 2016
The Conjuring

I saw writing was not a remote magic but something one created—built.

Aug 04, 2016
Meeting Nadine Gordimer

“I now accept that I am forever doomed to learning from my mistakes, whether in crafting a sentence, creating a book, or living out my life. That’s the writer’s burden.”

Jun 16, 2016
Writers From the Other Europe

“My new professor, with his reading list of Central and Eastern European literature, had handed me a vast map with so much good territory to explore.”

Standing on the Galata Bridge

“If I could write a eulogy for him, convey his value in a single page of prose, then how could I justify wasting 80,000 words on invented characters whom I felt nothing for?”

May 19, 2016
When Your Memoir Needs Less of You

“It feels reassuring to write everything you remember, how it all felt. But to write well sometimes involves rejecting reassurance.”

May 12, 2016
My Movement from Dancing to Writing

“Was I replacing one language with another, one way of communicating with another?”

Apr 28, 2016
Learning to Be Embarrassed on the Page

“To risk something real as a writer is to risk making a fool of oneself.”

Apr 21, 2016
Dipping the Pen Nib Into Tragedy

“It meant not constantly trying to get readers to feel pity for my characters, which was what I’d been doing for way too long.”

Mar 07, 2016
Surrendering to a 41-page Paragraph

“In his attempt to make something balanced, measured, conventionally well-made, the writer is defeated from the start.”

Mar 03, 2016