Three Easy Pieces

number three

Over the last little while, I’ve been passively writing. You know what I mean–I’m composing these things, they’re kind of like philosophical essays, in my head, but I don’t write them down because I’m in the fiction/nonfiction business. I’m not Alan Watts, for God’s sakes. Where would I publish such thoughts? And who would care … Read more

Ayahuasca and Addiction

jigsaw puzzle

In this, the third blog about my Ayahuasca experience, there will continue to be no talk of swirly psychedelic images or seeing the faces of one’s ancestors. People writing about Ayahuasca often claim such things happen, and all I can say is… whatever, dude. Neither I nor anyone else I talked to from my ceremony … Read more

Ayahuasca: what happens doesn’t matter

hands covering eyes

This is blog two in a series of Ayahuasca blogs. I’m not going to walk you through every wacky adventure that happened during the experience, or even one. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. What’s interesting about this is is not the experience but the results, which you become aware of afterward as the DMT gradually leaves … Read more

Ayahuasca: I Was a Brain in a Jar

I was originally going to call this I took Ayahuasca and I Pissed Myself but that would only be pandering to readers who want silly, dramatic headlines. This isn’t something I want to be silly and dramatic about (even though that above part is true). And the “purging” aspect of Ayahuasca that caused this phenomenon … Read more

Three Pitfalls of Pop Psychoanalysis

analyst's couch

My mother’s nickname in our family was “the dog psychologist,” because whenever our dog behaved strangely she always had some complicated explanation for how it must be feeling based upon the traumas she imagined it had experienced before we got it from the pound. This sounds familiar, right? We love to put people, animals, friends, … Read more

How to Write Memoir Short Stories

spines of short books

I have a friend that’s a composer. I once asked him, “How do you know how to blend together the violin and the french horn and the kettle drum and all those different instruments?” He looked at me funny and replied, “You go to graduate school.” What he meant by that was: “It’s complicated!” That’s … Read more

How to Write a Story, not an Essay

dune buggy on dirt

I have begun teaching the second wave of classes in my ongoing series. The second wave, which I call “Writers in Action” is an actual critique session, where, in a group setting, I look at student work with a view to how well students are embodying the lessons learned in the free technique classes I … Read more