Suspend Your Disbelief

Author Takes

Author Takes |

A Late Invasion of the Territory of Words: Recording the Voices

“Along the way, listening to writers at my dinner table speak of their work, their contracts, their advances, their sales, their ratings on Amazon, their competitors, etc, I came to realize how much it takes to carve out a career as an author, to live by the pen. At my present age, none of these concerns are mine.” Elena Delbacno discusses the perks of publishing later in life.


Author Takes |

Brillo Books

“In The Universe of Click it’s more important to have someone saying ‘I loved it!’ than ‘The notion intrigued me, but I was unmoved by the pleonastic ramblings on page 94.’ A review is somehow less decisive than the perception that someone has liked something and passed it on to friends and acquaintances on Limped-In, Face-Schmuck, Mumbler, and Fritter…”


Author Takes |

Propaganda and Product Placement in Fiction and Speech

Some of the most complex and weighty signifiers are brand names, celebrity names, clichés, and propagandist phrases like “axis of evil.” These categories overlap: celebrity names are brand names, brand names are propaganda, propaganda is cliché, etc. “Axis of evil” is a place to start because of its obviousness. No educated person I have met can vocalize this phrase without quotation marks implicit in the vocal texture. What do these quotation marks mean? I think they mean we don’t wish anyone to think we are complicit with the ideology behind the phrase. We use quotation marks to indicate awareness of […]


Author Takes |

The Thrill of Rejection and the Sensible Drunkenness of Success

A writer can never have too much (or too little) advice on how to handle rejection. Every rejection, no matter how discrete, invokes the sensation of being punched in the face, and it’s extremely difficult to be magnanimous while that’s going on. So here’s my advice: with a slight shift in perspective, it’s possible to find rejection thrilling. The first step is learning how to take a punch. (Having been raised in a boxing family, I acquired this knowledge early in life.) The second step is learning how to enjoy taking a punch. That’s the hard part. Once my debut […]


Author Takes |

From TV Screen to Novel and All the Wines and Teryaki Bowls in Between

It was October 2005, and professionally and personally, I was rudderless. Where had I gone wrong? In the preceding two years, I’d finished serving my grad school sentence and been released from Boulder. Back in Chicago, the city in which I’d grown up, I’d taken a one-bedroom apartment in a baseball-sodden neighborhood with scant street parking. I was halfheartedly teaching some community college comp and developmental reading courses (my sole qualification for getting the unclaimed developmental reading assignment: my willingness to take the teacher’s edition and my vow to learn something in the days before I’d have to face the […]