An Open Letter to Representative McMorris Rogers, Mayor Nadine Woodward, the Spokane City Council, and any who would care to read.

I am an educator in Spokane, Washington who teaches a diverse student body. In the classroom, one of the things I try to impart to my students is the absolute sanctity and power of their freedom of speech. The first and most important amendment in the bill of rights, for no nation can reasonably claim …

Continue reading An Open Letter to Representative McMorris Rogers, Mayor Nadine Woodward, the Spokane City Council, and any who would care to read.


Wow. It's been a long year. My masters program devoured more time than I had expected, and it's been rough trying to balance that and writing. Tough enough to grind this blog here to a stuttering halt. BUT! I have had a few stories come out recently, so here's an update about those. First, Writers …

Continue reading WRITING UPDATES JUNE 2018

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 4 of 5 stars In The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro tackles the ethics of memory. The central question of the novel concerns whether it is better to forget old hurts or to remember them. Is a shallow, immediate life lacking the depths of a recollected past--and with …

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Why I switched from League of Legends to Heroes of the Storm

Recently my wife and I returned to the United States from Taiwan, which for me in part meant reconnecting with my gaming friends from high school and college. Back in the day we spent endless hours playing MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), beginning with the original DotA, then Heroes of Newerth, then League of Legends …

Continue reading Why I switched from League of Legends to Heroes of the Storm

Knight Falls

Excellent post from my writing group mate Patrick Woods over on the Taipei Writer’s Group blog.

Taipei Writers Group

391885631_1ad5886be4_bWhen I was around 14 years old, part of my English class involved quiet reading. We all had a book from the school library, and read it for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. The book I was reading made me laugh so hard I couldn’t contain it. The mirth just forced its way out as stifled giggles, snorts, and teary silent shaking. The people near by kept looking at me like I was having some kind of fit.

That book was Witches Abroad, by Terry (later, and most deservedly, Sir Terry) Pratchett, who died this week aged 66.

It wasn’t the first Discworld book I’d read. I was introduced to Discworld via Audiobooks, which back then were books on cassette. Tony Robinson read abridged versions that were about 3 hours long. I laughed my way through these, then later bought the books and realised there was so much more –…

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What’s wrong with Present Tense?

Taipei Writers Group

Recently I’ve been working on a short story to submit to this quarter’s Writers of the Future contest. The story is a gothic fantasy, set in an alternate world which is dominated by flintlock weapons as well as faerie, divine, and demonic magic. I’ve actually written two stories set in this world, and I’ve been working on an outline for a novel with the same setting.

Overall, I like it a lot. But there is a wrinkle: For whatever reason, when I write in this world, I want to write in Present Tense.

I don’t even understand why. Honestly, for whatever reason, I just like the “sound” of the Present Tense within this world. For example: “In the Clandestine Market, one can buy all manner of hidden things” sounds better to me in the context of this story and world than “In the Clandestine Market, one could buy all manner of…

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Synecdoche, New York and the Problem of Writing Realism

Taipei Writers Group

Spoiler Warning: This post discusses the content of the film Synecdoche, New York, including many plot details.

I recently watched for the first time and fell in love with Charlie Kaufman’s film Synecdoche, New York. The film is heavily layered with themes, but one which stands out to me on each repeated viewing is the difficulty of creating a “true-to-life” work of art.Throughout the film playwright Caden Cotard (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) struggles to make good use of his MacArthur Fellowship and create a stage play which will be a “piece of brutal realism and honesty.” Initially, Cotard focuses on coaching his actors to realistically convey the emotions and daily struggles of their characters, but over the course of the film his vision expands as he strives to create a perfect reflection of the real world within his expansive warehouse set, complete with doppelganger actors playing himself, his family and…

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The Book of the New Sun and the Importance of Craft in Fiction Writing (also, Something about Rereading)

Taipei Writers Group

As a person with an almost unhealthy craving for novelty, I do not often revisit media, even media that I genuinely enjoy. Often I will begin a re-read of a book, a re-watch of a movie or TV show, or a re-play of a video game of which I have fond memories, only to become disinterested and bored once the initial wave of nostalgia has passed. The only books which I have re-read completely tend to be either:

a) assignments for school, which I have had to dissect and mine for quotes and citations

b) books which I have read for research, to better absorb the information

c) philosophy books (or philosophically dense novels) which are difficult to understand on the first reading


d) books which I appreciate as much for their craft as for their storytelling

Books belonging to group (d) may not even be my favorite stories…

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A bit of absurdist life-affirmation during inexplicable melancholy…

So I've been feeling sort of down lately. Can't say why, exactly. Maybe it's my introvert soul (which shall  be described as though it were a hedgehog for the immediate future) coiling about itself and sticking out its spines after the holidays. Maybe it's because I'm slogging my way through January Term in my senior …

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