Ghost children, empathy, and easter. 3 Monday quotes.

I’ve lately been reading a wide swath of whatever, and apparently refusing to share any of it because… cohesion. So in lieu of a blog post that would make all these come elegantly together, below are the quotes I’m saving from a few works that may or may not be awesome on the whole: From Education’s culture of…

The (31) Number One Female Country Songs since 2004: Summed Up by Yours Truly

In January, Country Weekly claimed 2014 to be the Year of the Woman in country music. I replied with a new piece for The Ethos Review about how 2014… isn’t. Going. To be. [O]ver the last ten years, songs by female artists make up only ten percent of country music’s number one hits (31 of…

Creativity: Neither Magic Nor Madness

Nothing like telling the entire world about one’s clinical depression to enliven a Tuesday. Here’s my latest for Ploughshares Literary Magazine, in which I own up to the depression that yanked me out of music-touring… and in which I punch the Mental-Illness-Makes-Better-Artists myth in the throat. Regardless of whether you’ve suffered from mental illness, there are…

Waiting for a job? grad school? publishing deal? Here’s HOW TO WAIT BETTER:

My latest for Ploughshares Literary Magazine is a bit of a confession: I SUCK AT WAITING. And so do many other writers and artists. We hover over email inboxes, trying to survive the feeling of teetering on someone else’s whim. Thus: Hey Writers: Four Steps to Better Waiting Check it out, leave a comment. Tell…

Because obvs women aren’t in charge lolz

Okay, there’s already a pile of responses to Mike Huckabee’s LIBIDOFFENSE 2014. But having now heard Allen West’s “thoughtful” additions, I have to ask: Can we talk about how even the language used by conservatives constantly excludes women from positions of influence, placing them at the mercy of (male) lawmakers? Exhibit A, Huckabee: “[W]omen are…

What Writers Can Glean from “The Wolf of Wall Street”

In my latest for Ploughshares Literary Magazine, I summarize the Crazy response to The Wolf of Wall Street, and tackle the Good that might come from ethically-precarious art. An excerpt: Criticisms of The Wolf of Wall Street both devalue viewers—by assuming they can handle only moralistic tales—and esteem them, by providing immediate evidence of their astonishing critical thinking skills. The film’s critics…

The Myths that Sustain Oppression, Income Inequality, and Poverty

Okay friends. Given recent battles over minimum wage, all the news regarding the 50-year anniversary of Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” and political statements that examine  poverty and income inequality, I present to you this eerily relevant excerpt from Paulo Freiro’s celebrated Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1968: [O]ppressors develop a series of methods precluding any presentation of the world as a…

opiates, meaning, and asking the wrong questions

So The Atlantic posted a health column today with the following title: Where Life Has Meaning: Poor, Religious Countries. It’s a writeup of a recent study published in Psychological Science about the quest for meaning around the globe. The grabby tag: “Research indicates that lack of religion is a key reason why people in wealthy countries don’t…