Author Archives: mm

The Devil's Dictionary

I was a library nut when I was a kid. I’d go at least once a week, sometimes more, and check out the maximum number of books they allowed. (I’m still the same way, but that’s a story for another … Continue reading

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The Perils of a Cleansed Existence

Five times a day, sometimes more, I showered: before breakfast, after breakfast, midday, early evening, and just before bed. Also, baths, twice a day: after lunch and during the evening meal. I washed my hands at least hourly. I bought … Continue reading

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Names

Driving north on the I-5 yesterday, we passed a truck hauling a boat. The boat’s name, displayed prominently on the stern, was Current Toy, which is a marvelous name for a boat. Seeing it made me think about names in … Continue reading

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My Tiny Life List

Though I like observing and looking for birds, I don’t have an extensive life list, and I haven’t even written mine down as serious bird watchers do. My all time favorite bird to watch is the sanderling, a shore bird … Continue reading

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The Perils of a Fortunate Existence

I won the lottery. Two dollars. A one hundred percent return on my investment. I was flush with smugness and contentment. Until my relatives found out. Then I had no peace: Can you lend me a dime? Just until payday? … Continue reading

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Rewriting

Here’s Eileen Gunn, in her book Stable Strategies and Others, quoting William Gibson on the secret of writing: “You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.” When I read that sentence I was … Continue reading

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Notebook 4

Another enigmatic entry from one of my old notebooks: 6 January 2003 He Walked with a lisp. She Talked with a limp. Their children went into A list that must have amused me: 17 Feb 2003 Monday 12:20 a.m. spots … Continue reading

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The Perils of a Covert Existence

We were a close knit group in those days, spending our working hours several floors underground. We knew close to a hundred languages between us, which allowed us to translate any document that came our way during the conflict. That … Continue reading

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The Unrepentent Joy of Sisyphusian Struggle

If you haven’t seen “Shelf Life” by Adrian Tomine, the hilarious cover of the current New Yorker, it’s worth seeking out. There’s a teeny tiny version of it on this page and a bigger version on the artist’s website here … Continue reading

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The Perils of a Nocturnal Existence

The eclipse stained the moon copper, then the color dripped from the moon’s face like water streaming over a stone in a river. We watched as velvet folds of red light draped the sky then slowly descended over us and … Continue reading

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Notebook 3

Continuing my wanderings through some of my old notebooks. I’ve learned it’s usually best to write down things that strike me as very interesting. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that eight years later it will make much sense to me: 24 … Continue reading

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We Have a Winner

Drum roll please. The winner of the first Conditional Realities give away is…… melissa. Melissa, please send your mailing address to mm@gorge.net and I will send you your free book. Thank you all for entering. Stephanie: Yes, I used a … Continue reading

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Notebook 2

You still have time to enter the first Conditional Realities give away. Just throw your name into the hat at this post by midnight and you’ll have a chance at a free signed copy of my novel. I’m deep into … Continue reading

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Free Book

This article by Douglas Goetsch in The American Scholar from last year is a marvelous piece about a group of high school kids who learned how to write poetry then set up a stand where they wrote poems on demand … Continue reading

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Crutch Words

They say there are two things you should never see being made: sausage and laws. I think novel writing might be another. My first drafts are always remarkably unattractive objects. Making it right is all in the rewriting, of course. … Continue reading

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Notebook

Like many writers I have a notebook that I carry around for recording observations, quotes, scenes, thoughts, snippets of dialog, attempts at poems, and some of the crazy ideas I get that might someday be the impetus for a writing … Continue reading

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Interview

When I was putting the finishing touches on my novel Terrastina and Mazolli I got a call from Nenad Dragicevic, the eminent European journalist and fabulist who I have admired for many years. He had somehow obtained a bootleg copy … Continue reading

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An Abecedary

Always affirm an adequate and acceptable airing before betraying benign colleagues. Collecting cotton cushions doesn’t deny deregulation. Excessive excuses eventually erode fundamentally flattering failings. Gather goslings. Go gain humid hues. Houses have heavy hours inside. Illicit incidents incorporate industrial jokes. … Continue reading

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Shedding

When I’m mowing the lawn I sometimes find a snakeskin nestled in the blades of grass in our front yard. The skin is usually about a foot long, translucent, and still bears the imprint of tail, scales, belly, jaws, nostrils, … Continue reading

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Sasquatch

Washington’s Skamania county, where I live, is mostly sparsely populated wilderness, home to Mount St. Helens, and also the world’s only Bigfoot refuge. Back in the sixties (long before I moved here) there were a lot of reports of possible … Continue reading

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Mary Oliver

If you want to see someone’s eyes glaze over, ask them if they’d like to hear some of your poems. It’s an instant excuse generator. Not that I blame anyone for staying away from poetry readings. I usually avoid them … Continue reading

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1K/day

Kim and I have a deal going right now. We have both agreed to write at least one thousand words a day. We’re both working on novels at the moment and this daily quota really helps make the job less … Continue reading

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The Perils of a Cardboard Existence

The guy who created me did no back story on me. Not his fault. The deadline was tight, and the project was work for hire: a quick movie novelization. He had every reason to devote less time and energy to … Continue reading

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Steamed Vegetables

Yeah, it sounds kind of boring, but this is a favorite dish in our house. Kim and I try to always have it around. Here’s how we do it: 1. Cut up 3 carrots, 2 broccoli heads, some cabbage, and … Continue reading

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Borges Was Right

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. —Jorge Luis Borges I work at a small town library in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a good job. I get to be around books, which I love, and … Continue reading

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Snow

On Saturday and Sunday we got over two feet of snow in our little town. Everything was covered in clean whiteness. Our car looked like a giant marshmallow. Most of the snow is still here, although some of it has … Continue reading

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I Used to Believe

When I was very young I thought the phone company could tell when you had too much going on in your house to answer the phone. That’s when they sent a busy signal to whoever was trying to call you. … Continue reading

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Terrastina and Mazolli

I have always been interested in odd literary forms. Show me a short story in the form of an index to a non-existent book, and I will be deliriously happy. Or an entire novel that does not use the letter … Continue reading

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Michael Swanwick's Bottled Stories

When he was a teenager Borges used to write stories and poems, print them up as chapbooks, then take them around his town and slip them into the pockets of coats he found hanging on coat racks at restaurants, barber … Continue reading

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Welcome

Hello to my faithful readers from “Conditional Reality,” “Marcel et Moi,” and “Terrastina and mazolli.” I have decided to consolidate all my blogging activities here. I’ll leave my other blogs up for historical and archival purposes, but I don’t expect … Continue reading

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