Content

File: NF

Announcements + NF + queers
2018-01-30 :: dave

Today, I’ve got an essay up at Lithub about the choices I made to become queer, an essayist, and an artist. Its title was taken from a panel at last year’s NonfictioNow Conference, which got me thinking about how these three words were related in my own life. Thanks to editors Tim Denevi and Emily […]

 ::  Read on

Books + NF + queers
2018-01-16 :: dave

A graphic memoir about a young girl in the world of mid-level competitive figure skating, who comes out as queer and comes to realize she has to leave skating behind. What’s beautiful about it are Walden’s colors and her use of rhythm and pacing, how she moves from small and tight panels to wider and […]

 ::  Read on

Books + NF + Reviews
2017-03-27 :: dave

It’s a debut memoir by Mike Scalise (full disclosure: a friend who is right now as I type this on a plane to San Francisco to come read at USF as part of our Emerging Writers’ Festival) that tells the story of his illness and diagnosis. Illness: brain tumor on his pituitary gland. Diagnosis: acromegaly. […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2016-12-08 :: dave

I. Here’s something I found today in my notebook: Anti-Intellectualism has always been a part of America, and no one’s done a more patriotic job of carrying that banner than its creative writers. We’re told, in craft books and MFA classes, to “write down the bones,” whatever that is. Maybe this is because people who […]

 ::  Read on

Books + NF + Reviews
2016-06-06 :: dave

A thing I’ve said more than once in classes is that every good book is a mystery. Which is to say that “mystery” isn’t something to be left for a certain genre of fiction. But mystery might apply just to novels, or to narrative more broadly. Last week I read Paul Lisicky’s new memoir of […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2016-05-16 :: dave

It’s a clickbait title. I’ll warn you now: if you’re here to learn how do that you’ll probably be disappointed. But I want to write a bit about one difference between scholarly nonfiction and literary nonfiction. And in doing so, I think I can highlight some assumptions of people who write what they call “creative […]

 ::  Read on

NF + teaching
2015-12-29 :: dave

Yesterday I wrote a thing about how the debut memoir seems—in order to be a success—to require a rote approach to structure and form. That memoirs need to look like novels, with a reliance on scenes and a macrostructure that ends with its protagonist’s coming to ultimate terms with his or her conflict. This post […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2015-12-28 :: dave

Here’s the opening paragraph of The Tender Bar, a debut memoir published in 2006 by a Pulitzer-prizewinning journalist that, according to my copy, every critic in America loved: We went there for everything we needed. We went there when thirsty, of course, and when hungry, and when dead tired. We went there when happy, to […]

 ::  Read on

Announcements + NF
2015-11-24 :: dave

Wishing a happy pub day to Findings: An Illustrated Collection, which might be the perfect Xmas gift for anyone interested in facts, science, data, or earless rabbits born in Fukushima, Japan. It’s Amazon’s #1 New Release in “Scientific Experiments & Projects”! The last page of every issue of Harper’s is dedicated to the Findings column, […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2015-11-13 :: dave

I went to this conference a couple weeks ago, and then had a visit from the goon squad (i.e. my parents). Only now getting to think about it. It’s a brief list. The biggest lesson I learned is that if you organize a panel where you come prepared with some new ideas, minimal slides to […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2015-06-22 :: dave

“Moving to Iowa Falls was like going back in time, I say, belching out weed smoke. The light is frayed grayscale. Empty bottles turret the tabletops. “BACK IN TIME!” KJ shouts. “Fucking Huey Lewis and the News!” “Fireworks over Riverbend Rally and jumping from motorboats and weed in the ditches. Camping and skinny-dipping when the […]

1 comment  ::  Read on

Books + NF
2015-06-17 :: dave

Just seeing the word introvert threw me into despair. Was I an introvert? Wasn’t I? Didn’t I cry more than I laughed? Didn’t I spend all my time reading in my room? That was introverted behavior, wasn’t it? Introvert, introvert, I didn’t want to be an introvert. That was the last thing I wanted to […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2015-06-03 :: dave

Before I started using next-door-neighbor Jim Black’s hunting trailer as a summertime teen hideout, the bulk of the sleepovers I had in the neighborhood growing up were at James Darne’s house. He lived up at the bottom of Fall Place, the older of two boys, and around about age 9 his parents gave him the […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2015-02-17 :: dave

The other night I was listening to some journeyman reporter eulogize a dead NCAA coach on NPR. Here was his last line: We talk about a gentleman and a scholar, well he was a gentleman and a coach. This is such garbage writing, but it looks and sounds so good doesn’t it? Audiences get such […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2014-11-19 :: dave

Got an email recently about Disquiet-Lisbon, an international literary program put on by Dzanc Books. There’s a contest you can enter to get a scholarship to go: one each in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Here’s a paragraph from the email: Guest judges are Aimee Bender (fiction) and Brenda Shaughnessy (poetry). The winning work in each […]

1 comment  ::  Read on

Announcements + NF
2014-11-18 :: dave

I’m from Virginia. The first ever Virginia-based periodical I got published in was the Herndon Observer, where in high school I wrote an op-ed defending us students against something I’ve long since forgotten. My mom clipped it out. She might remember. That was in 1996. Then, nothing…until 2014, when Mary Washington College’s Rappahannock Review (named, […]

 ::  Read on

Announcements + NF + Very Good Paragraphs
2014-11-14 :: dave

Why would someone bother memorizing two paragraphs from an old Joan Didion essay? Answers here and here. This is a post to say I’ve done it. Typed from memory, from what I like to think of as the center of Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”: Of course the activists—not those whose thinking had become rigid, but […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2014-11-13 :: dave

Stay tuned, dear readers. I mean: Mom.

 ::  Read on

NF
2014-10-23 :: dave

It was a wild coincidence that the day I derided what’s become its rallying cry to writers, The Rumpus publishes an essay of mine, but that’s how Monday unfurled. It’s called , and it’s about yarn art, essay-writing, my mom’s dad, and loss. A good amount of the behind-the-scenes stuff about writing the essay is […]

 ::  Read on

NF
2014-10-20 :: dave

That’s the new president of my university: Fr. Paul Fitzgerald. He spoke yesterday with some of the Arts & Sciences faculty. Someone asked him about his teaching philosophy (Fr. Fitzgerald demanded he be given an appointment in the Theology and Religious Studies faculty). This isn’t a direct quote, but here’s what he said: Number one, […]

 ::  Read on