As our editors prepare to launch the latest issue of SHARK REEF, perhaps you are doing what I am doing. I’m reading the Mueller Report. Perhaps like me, you are trying to imagine what Robert Mueller and his team were thinking as they pored through thousands of documents, emails and text messages and as they engaged in countless interviews with individuals who ranged from clueless to highly incompetent. And like me, maybe you too are guessing what names and addresses, what actions and deliberations, lurk behind the black blocks marked HARM TO INVESTIGATION and GRAND JURY.Continue reading… "Literary Language, Interpretation and Practice"
“Who decides what is good writing?” I asked my Composition students at Edmonds Community College this past fall.
We traded ideas. In the end, the answer was:
Us. We decide what is good.
That’s exactly right.Continue reading… "Who Decides?"
This is the story of how SHARK REEF came to be and of the remarkable woman, writer and friend, who modeled what it is to be a writer.
“Writers grow on the trees on Lopez,” Alie Smaalders announced to me in our early days together in the late 1990s. It did seem true. Memory is hazy at best but in my mind’s eye, I still see fellow writer Laurie Parker and me stopping on the wooden library stepsContinue reading… "This Issue Dedicated to Alie Smaalders
October 21, 1923 – March 12, 2018
SHARK REEF Cofounder, Writer, Literary Citizen, Mentor Extraordinaire "
What better moment in our profoundly messed up time to quote Richard III? Shakespeare can really write about dysfunctional regimes. I find myself thinking about the plays that focus on the rot at the top: Richard the III of course, but also Hamlet, King Lear, and even Measure for Measure, where a predatory puritanical ruler tries to blackmail a beautiful novice into having sex with him. A lot of Shakespeare sounds familiar to me right now.Continue reading… "The Winter of our (Dis)content"
As with all literary magazines, before we even went “live” with this issue, we’d begun planning for the next… and the next. We’re exploring some changes for SHARK REEF, and we’ll tell you about them when we have more details. For now, we know we’re saying farewell to co-editor for prose, Jeremiah O’Hagan. He’s brought his discerning eye,Continue reading… "Seventeen years and thirty issues!"
The older I get, the more surely I understand that stories are all we have. That often the littlest stories are the ones that catch our heads and hearts.
When my son was born, I imagined it would be the big moments I’d cherish — the rolling over, crawling, walking, talking. And I do recall those things, but not as clearly as I remember tiny moments. I’ve realized, see, that he doesn’t need me toContinue reading… "Listen. Stories Matter."
I think the magic of reading and writing is the startling places to which it whisks our brains and emotions, most notably the places inside ourselves that we’ve forgotten or didn’t know about in the first place.
I said that not long ago. I got to be part of the June 3 “Local Writers Read,” sponsored by SHARK REEF and Lopez Bookshop, and when I was asked to give a little bio and a few quotations to be used in my introduction, that’s what I said.
I was wrong.Continue reading… "A Short Bit about Magic and Miracles"
If I have any advice, it’s to never write an intro like this at New Years.
First, intros are predisposed to summarize.
Second, New Years is downright freighted with reflections and expectations and resolutions and dejections and yearnings and lessons and dreams and hopes and failures and sins and second chances and the need to somehow box up all this, label it “last year,” and forge madly ahead.Continue reading… "To Do Is To Be"
I want to be unabashedly forthright: Jon Pearson’s “Saving Santa” is not only my favorite piece in this edition of SHARK REEF, it is my favorite piece I’ve read in a long time.
That includes taking my eighth-grade students on a six-week romp through poetry, reading essays by E.B. White, Scott Russell Sanders, AnnieContinue reading… "Taking Risks"
I’m teaching again. Since I last taught five years ago, they’ve taken to calling my subject “language arts” instead of English, which is likely more accurate. English in a U.S. school is not the study of the language, nor is it grammar, literature, writing or linguistics. It’s somehow more and less than any one of these.Continue reading… "Rules of Writing"