Category Archives: Essay

Rare ventures into the world of creative non-fiction.

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’16

And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?

Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72”**

Well I’ll be a good goddam.

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 CoverIf this is a tribute, I make it begrudgingly. To behold the 2016 presidential election on this day in August, without a nod toward its obvious parallels to the ’72 presidential election, is to miss a bone-white manifestation of that congenital atavism intrinsic to our beloved, oxygen-sucking race. Solzhenitsyn said something to this effect. Škvorecký, maybe? You know: Our repeated mistakes can be distinguished only by their variations . . .

Having joined this experiment a good fifteen years and five months after Richard Nixon’s re-election, I must rely on a close and ongoing study of key accounts from Tricky Dick Richard’s time if I have any chance of contextualizing it. There is still so much work to do. No ignoring the terrific clarity that comes with historical hindsight, either, of which I consider myself a fortunate beneficiary. With that in mind, three decades on planet earth seems like more than enough playing time to chop a pure Colombian kilo of good old American cynicism down to a few good snorts.

What better medicine for Campaign Trail 2016?

And in the spirit of true Americanism, I will use a nickel-plated knife to break down the brick. But my hands are shaky these days, so if I miss the mark, blame it on “Campaign Bloat,” that savage condition brought on by a full year of election politics. Debates. Media pulse. I consumed it all.

So do forgive me.

I am sick.

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Creative non-fiction published in Chicago Literati

The folks at Chicago Literati were kind enough to publish a creative non-fiction piece of mine in “The Wanderlust Issue.” I wrote this piece after returning from a wedding–a beautiful, candid, touching wedding–where I had the opportunity to dance and drink and be weird with some of my closest friends. And of course, this piece was also inspired by Great Expectations and Candide, books I recently read for the first time.

Great Expectations, Or the Baby Melancholy and Nostalgia made

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The New Law of Diminishing Returns

Law of diminishing returns: if one input in the production of a commodity is increased while all other inputs are held fixed, a point will eventually be reached at which additions of the input yield progressively smaller, or diminishing, increases in output. —Encyclopedia Britannica (Online)

The law of diminishing returns is a concept usually limited to the economic world. I was recently reminded, though, of its cruel application in the world of cocaine abuse. I’ve been around this form of abuse my entire life—in one form or another—and each experience left me searching for an answer to one fundamental question:

What makes this drug so destructive?

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Woe is Me: I’m a Raymond Carver Reject

Raymond Carver rejected me today.

It wasn’t personal, of course; Raymond Carver passed away in 1988. It was actually a publication named in honor of Raymond Carver that passed me up.

Months ago, I began work on a short story entitled Windswept. It’s the first real writing that I have ever committed my heart to and, since I completed draft seven on the day before the deadline for submissions, I decided to go for it.

Now, months later, I am reading a personable rejection letter courtesy of the folks at Carve Magazine. Woe is me.

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