Life, Unqualified

As a writer, qualifiers are useful. Words and phrases like "usually," "almost always," or "mostly" buy room for the likelihood that a statement will not always be true. Last night, as I often do, I was journaling about my failings of the day. Usually at the end of...

Chase the Dragon: The Uses and Misuses of Memoir

We build our lives on lies. The stories we tell about our pasts are just that–stories. We either ignore the bad and romanticize the good or we ignore the good and exploit the bad. Either way, the result is less than truth. If I wrote my memoir in the traditional...

Write About Now

My first job as a paid writer was with the University of Missouri-Kansas City's student newspaper. I wrote for the arts section. Album reviews. Exhibit reviews. An interview with the new head of the dance program. My cult classic "MTV Hell." The editor of the arts...

Keep On Rockin' in the Joe Town

In the late 1970s, my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri, was a hotbed of pop music criticism. The reason was two young reporters at the St. Joseph News-Press and Gazette, Conrad Bibens and Terry Jordan. For a couple of years, I faithfully clipped their album and...

For Richer or for Poorer: A Love Story

This Wednesday, Ellen and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary. We have both had jobs for almost of all those years. But this will be our second consecutive anniversary that I have been technically unemployed. No paycheck. No benefits. No vacation time. No sick time....

Memoiries Can't Wait

For a long time, I've thought about writing memoir. Not autobiography, which is mainly an act of chronology (this happened, then that happened, then this happened), but memoir, which is more about finding meaning and universal truth in what has happened. Several...