Surpassing Self Satisfaction

My students call me a fashion terrorist, but I'd like to disagree. Open up my wardrobe and you'll see primarily earth tones. I'm huge fan of navy blue, brown, and gray. I know what I like, and I stick to it. Am I fashionable to others? Probably not. But I'd much rather feel comfortable in … Continue reading Surpassing Self Satisfaction


The Old Man and the Sea of Self-Doubt

I've not often considered myself a fan of Hemingway, but a few years ago I decided to give The Old Man and the Sea a try. It wasn't especially exciting, but it did evoke nostalgic memories from my childhood of fishing on lazy summer afternoons with my father. Shortly after finishing, I sat down at … Continue reading The Old Man and the Sea of Self-Doubt

What Makes a Successful Writer?

My wife, Kimmy, and I spend a lot of time at a small, independent coffee shop in the heart of Busan called Hipster Coffee. We’re the only foreigners who frequent the place, and we’ve come to know the owners on a first name basis. It’s a great little place to spend the afternoon writing, reading, … Continue reading What Makes a Successful Writer?

On Procrastination and Zombies

The beginning of the school year in Korea starts in March, so last week, the daily grind officially began. I did very little. And by “little” I mean I gave every class a near impossible to solve word search. It kept them occupied while I played Plants vs. Zombies on my iPad. Oh yeah, ESL … Continue reading On Procrastination and Zombies

Writing in Winter

I often imagine myself reading in bed with a coffee or hot chocolate to keep me company. It's cozy and warm and shut off from the rest of the world. But writing is different. It's active. So when I imagine myself writing, I’m in a coffee shop, wrapped in a hoodie and jeans, with a … Continue reading Writing in Winter

Word Count and Coffee

The cold air of November comes more gradually in Busan than in my native Iowa. Back home, they’ve just had their first snow, but here we’ve got 60s and 70s on the forecast. But as the sun’s skyward trip shortens, the chill comes, and nothing fights it quite like a cup of coffee. In past … Continue reading Word Count and Coffee

Dirty Little Secret

Working at Borders, I often had to censor my true opinions regarding certain books. Well, I suppose it wasn't censoring so much as it was tolerating enthusiasm for what I felt was a novel worthy of the trash can. Obvious titles come to mind, such as Twilight, the Anita Blake series, and pretty much everything in … Continue reading Dirty Little Secret

Let Them Read Books

It’s a hot summer, and here in Korea, air conditioning is difficult to come by. I’ve got a small apartment, but my window unit can barely cool the living room. That means my kitchen and bedroom feel similar to what I can only imagine are the bowels of Satan after chili cook-off season. Because of … Continue reading Let Them Read Books

Just Seventy More Pages

Sarah and Charlie sat opposite my wife and me at a Starbucks in Seomyeon, a sort of downtown district in the heart of Busan. We’d only just met. When they learned that I was an English major, Sarah said, I’d love to know what kinds of books you read! Here’s the sad truth: I’ve spent … Continue reading Just Seventy More Pages