short stories & essays  
short stories & essays

"Why I Always Wanted to Be a Secretary," in The New York TImes, 14 Jan. 2016.

"Violence, intimidation and hate: What it's like working under siege at Planned Parenthood," in Los Angeles Times, 4 Dec. 2015.

"Bad Mothers Make the News," in The Blue Collar Review, 2009. A Journal of Progressive Working Class Literature.

"Water Landing," published in Karamu, Spring 2009.

"Other People's Dead Relatives," published in The Battered Suitcase, January 2009. Available from Vagabondage Press. (Another excerpt from my unpublished novel Other People's Dead Relatives.)

"The Worst of It," published in Khimairal Ink Magazine, January 2009. Available online.

"What Girls Are For," published in Chiron Review, Issue 85, Winter 2008. Available from Chiron Review.

"A Splinter from the Devil's Mirror," published in The Big Stupid Review, November 2008. Available online. (One of the stories written for my Master's Thesis, much changed over the years.)

"Topless Ladder," published in Menda City Review, August 2008, Issue 12. Available online. (An essay on my very brief stint as a topless waitress.)

"Of All the Cocks in the World," published in The American Drivel Review, Spring 2006, Volume 4, Number 2. (An excerpt from my unpublished novel Other People's Dead Relatives.)



confessions of a former slushie

I was once a slush pile reader. For nearly five years, I worked for the much-lamented, now-defunct Kansas Quarterly Magazine. I had a rather glamorous title: Editorial Intern.

On the ground I was a more pragmatic thing: eighteen and in charge of hauling the vast boxes of slush pile submissions from the university's mailroom to KQ's office.

From there it was also my thankless task to open all the envelopes, enter the submissions into a rudimentary database (Wordstar!), and perform the basic task of deciding which submissions were worth passing on to the editors. This was in the halcyon days before the internet, back when many magazine editors sent personal rejection letters for every submission they read and rejected.

As the person who typed those notes on a manual Underwood, it was in my best interests to be sure the editors didn't read any more manuscripts than absolutely necessary.

I rejected with brutal efficiency, sometimes on grounds as frivolous as excessive scotch tape usage on the envelope. Don't blame me. We were always behind, hopelessly inundated with submissions. Expediency was the better part of valor.

For many years it was the memory of those rejections that kept me from submitting work to magazines. Fear of karmic retribution. It has abated somewhat, but not disappeared entirely.