Monday, April 21, 2014

The People’s MFA (“Werewolves in Their Youth” Edition)

by Julie Goldberg


I have deep respect for people who have completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Devoting two years of full-time study to producing acres of drafts and absorbing what can be painful critique, knowing all the while that there will be no “Help Wanted: MFA-Accredited Novelist” ad to answer at its conclusion, is a glorious achievement. The MFA attests not only to a writer’s profound commitment to the craft, but to an enviable faith in her own talent.

For those of us, however, who lack the money or time, or maybe even the faith, the People’s MFA is an inexpensive, time-tested alternative. Admission is free and open to all, and the professors are the finest in history. Some of them are even still alive. Continue reading

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Ask Ceil – Mustache and Beard Edition

by Ceil Kessler


Dear Ceil,

I have a long, luxurious beard named “HR FluffNStuff”. I recently read that beards are almost past their “peak attractiveness”. Is there any way for me protect my face veil from shame?


Hirsute in Hempfield

Dear Hirsute,

Ah, yes. The fashion peak of facial hair. The worry of the woolly woebegone. The fear of the fleecy flocculent. Continue reading

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Joy of Burn-Out

by Sara Goas


Monday, April 14, 2014

Skip day

by Neil Fein

There won’t be an update today; Magnificent Nose returns on Wednesday 16 April with a guest post from former regular columnist Sara Goas.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ask Ceil – E.S.P.

by Ceil Kessler

826 Paranormal explores the Poli Palace Theater Bridgeport, Connecticut 2011

Dear Ceil,

Can I use ESP to send my friend a message about something? I’d rather not confront her.

Bashful in Basking Ridge

Dear Bashful,

I hail from New Jersey where confrontation is practically a team sport, so I typically endorse a more direct approach. But if you have already ruled that out, then let’s learn ESP! Continue reading

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


by kathronan1

walking up and down

In the aftermath of the suicide of L’Wren Scott, I was not surprised to find the former NYTimes fashion critic writing of her confusion and anger. Successful, independent, teacher, fighter, grit, endurance, warmth; all were among the words used by Cathy Horyn to describe Ms. Scott. It’s the same sort of disbelief that accompanies tragic news of other iconic women. Though she wasn’t suicidal, I recall a cocktail party around the time that Princess Diana’s mental health and marital troubles were being bandied about in the press. People expressed befuddlement that a beautiful, elegant, beloved, educated and well-spoken figure could feel so unlovely and unloved in private. It’s easy to see, hear and be shocked by tragedies that occur in the public eye. However, there are plenty of everyday people among your friends, neighbors, and colleagues who are likely to be walking in the same dark valley. Continue reading
Monday, April 7, 2014

Burnt Out (With Luggage)

by Leanne Yong

Dillinger Days - Tucson

Burn-out has always been one of those things that happens to other people, not me. The kind of situation where you shake your head and say, “Well, I saw that coming, they were doing too much and it was bound to happen sooner or later. So-and-so really needs to learn to take care of themselves.”

I, on the other hand, was someone with a good balance. Sure, there was a full-time job and an increasing amount of family-related responsibilities to deal with, but passion, people, passion. It’s what you do to reach those lofty heights of something you love. Continue reading

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ask Ceil – Hyper. Focus.

by Ceil Kessler

Dear Ceil,

I can’t seem to focus on anything. Why is that?

Distracted in Detroit

Continue reading

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sandman: Overture 2

by Neil Fein

Anything written by Neil Gaiman is always worth waiting for. It’s been almost four months since the first issue of Sandman: Overture came out, and I have the second issue next to me on the couch as I type this; I bought it late last week, and have since read it twice. Overture will clearly read better in the collected “graphic novel” edition than it does when reading it one issue at a time, but I’m still enjoying it immensely. Continue reading
Monday, March 31, 2014

If Plants Can’t Think, How Do They Develop Such Beautiful Habits?

by donnaleemiele

eel roots

As I set up my little table at the back of the store, my expectations were modest. The evening’s topic, and the name of the book I’d been asked to sell, was Thinking Like a Plant. The room filled with gardeners of all shapes, sizes, and levels of experience. Along with the attendees, I was eager for any discussion of growing things, in the middle of a very grey and dismal March. We had fought through hardened, bruise-colored snow to get to the room, were all itching in our woolies and hiking boots. But we weren’t even to here watch grass grow. We were going to contemplate how grass thinks about growing. For my part, the topic put me in vague, wistful mind of a hammock, a July afternoon, and a sweating Margarita.

Author Craig Holdrege’s main point, however, was not to lead us in sleepy meditation on botanical ephemera. Holdrege, Director and Senior Researcher of The Nature Institute, specializes in seeking to understand nature by observing it from the perspective that all living organisms are “dynamic and integrated beings within the larger web of life.” He was here to draw us into a detailed, observed analogy between plants and all growing things–namely, children. Continue reading


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