The importance of writing a court opinion well

This month Texas Monthly published an interview with retiring Texas criminal court judge Cathy Cochran, and in it she discusses the top judiciary reforms of the last twenty years. These include the increased use of DNA evidence, compensation for the wrongfully incarcerated, and policies to curtail false eyewitness identifications. All of these are surprisingly progressive reforms … Continue reading The importance of writing a court opinion well

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Drawing a giraffe is the least bizarre thing David Sedaris’ done

Giraffes Drawn By People Who Should Not Be Drawing Giraffes

David Sedaris Writer David Sedaris

David Sedaris (web | wiki) is a comedian and essayist known for his numerous memoirs including Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000) and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008). His latest book is Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013). Even if you don’t know him by name, I can guarantee you’ve heard him on National Public Radio and This American Life.

I first read Sedaris’ work years ago when, traveling through Denver, I bought When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Passing through for a wedding and not feeling particularly social, I’d escape to my hotel room or an abandoned broom closet to read. Family hunted me down, telling me to put it away, but this only led me to smuggle the book around as illegal contraband. I’d hold it beneath tables and spend more time in the bathroom than was necessary.

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On women “mother-naked before long mirrors”: Dorothy Parker’s list of literary cliches to avoid

Recently I bought a copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Books, 1973) and am now reveling in her genius and wit. For those unfamiliar with Parker (1893-1967), she was a writer and columnist whose book reviews frequently appeared in The New Yorker (1927-1933) and Esquire (1957-1962). In the few reviews I've written, I often feel compelled to be … Continue reading On women “mother-naked before long mirrors”: Dorothy Parker’s list of literary cliches to avoid

The Writers with a Foot in Two Centuries

For the last several months I’ve been writing a semi-autobiographical novel about growing up in rural Minnesota, running west to the Kerouac School, and back south to Houston. In particular, there’s a focus on the personalities who’ve crossed my path, but it’s also a meditation on the hometown. To quote the poet Bill Holm, it’s true that “We travel to get a better look at home,” but what I see from afar is the woman-witch illusion. The pictures flip back-and-forth, and though I’m grateful for much it’s hard going home – because what am I going back to?