Lovell’s Quiet Portrait of George Saunders

George Saunders (Photo:Damon Winter/The New York Times) Joel Lovell has written the cover article for the Sunday New York Times Magazine about the writer George Saunders. Much more than just a portrait of Saunders—which is reason enough, certainly—Lovell’s article is full of interstitial wisdom, a handfull of small but meaningful vignettes, and a respectful generosity […]

Where it Works

A shelf of visual stimulants in my studio The artistic value of hermiting and the need for isolation has been an ongoing theme on this blog, so of course I was intrigued reading Tony Perrottet‘s essay in the Sunday New York Times Book Review about writers, isolation—self-inflicted and otherwise—and the discipline needed to work. (Curiously, […]

Something to Say

Green glass in my studio window Continuing on a theme of Fitzgerald… To have something to say is a question of sleepless nights and worry and endless ratiocination of subject – of endless trying to dig out the essential truth, the essential justice. As a first premise you have to develop a conscience and if […]


Malcolm Gladwell is a phenom to be sure. His books always end up on the best seller list (there are two of them on now, Outliers and What the Dog Saw) and he is a popular inspirational keynote speaker. I admit, I imbibe. I read his New Yorker pieces religiously. I’ve read all his books. […]

Wallace Shawn’s Pugnacious Wisdom

Wallace Shawn has been a figure of admiration for me ever since I saw My Dinner with Andre, a movie that exemplifies Robert Benchley’s claim that the world is divided into two groups—those that divide the world into two groups, and those that don’t. My experience is that anyone who knows the film either loves […]