Seeing The World Through a Smaller Screen

This weekend, my girlfriend and I settled into our balcony seats at the historic Neptune Theatre in Seattle’s University District for a concert. As the blue and purple houselights dimmed and the band took the stage, a hundred smartphones were borne aloft to capture the moment. It was easy to excuse the first time. TheContinue reading “Seeing The World Through a Smaller Screen”

Looking at Pictures of Strangers

I don’t know the people in these photos. I don’t know their story, where they live, what their names are, what makes them happy or sad. All I know for sure is that someone left this stack of photos perched on top of the crosswalk button near the train station. Passing by them every day forContinue reading “Looking at Pictures of Strangers”

Homeless in the City of Roses

This weekend, my girlfriend and I drove to Portland, Oregon to meet up with a friend and do the usual tourist stuff. We ate a maple bacon donut, wandered through Powell’s City of Books and poked around the holiday market for sales tax-free gifts. Our friend came by bus, so our trip was bookended byContinue reading “Homeless in the City of Roses”

Buried at Sea

The tugboat entered the bay with the morning fog. Its horn shattered the silence of the Sunday stillness — a mournful sound that echoed over the water and off the beach houses and back — disturbing the herons and seals. People stood on the spit, silent. The horn blast was all around them; a burialContinue reading “Buried at Sea”

Greasy Spoon

The Place is packed on a warm summer Saturday morning. Orders fly through the kitchen window to alight on the arms of waitresses. Plates piled five, six deep and balanced with precision on their way to hungry families and tourists looking for an authentic diner feel. Coffee percolates. Eggs sizzle and fry. Mountains of hashContinue reading “Greasy Spoon”

Let Your Characters Speak for Themselves

Some writers are afraid of dialogue. I used to be one of them. I would write page after page of brilliant narrative — crisp details and settings so real you could smell the ponderosa pine sap on the thin mountain air — without a single line of dialogue. I was terrified to let my charactersContinue reading “Let Your Characters Speak for Themselves”

Five Million Pixels

I was lucky to start my year with a week in the Puget Sound around Seattle, Tacoma and Gig Harbor, going to museums, walking on pebble beaches and getting lost. I could tell you what I saw there, but this time, I think I’ll show you instead. — 30 — I’m a writer and photographerContinue reading “Five Million Pixels”

View from the Bottom of a Glass

The room is crowded with conversation. Laughter expands; presses on the walls and windows that strain to hold it in. Whispered secrets form the fog that floats on the tile floor. Everyone steals a glance at new figures in the door. Each face scanned slyly in search of a missing lover. There are no peopleContinue reading “View from the Bottom of a Glass”

Pressed Leaves: The Genesis of Fictional Characters

People are fascinating. Amazing and terrible. Perfect and flawed. No two are ever alike. The possibilities for conflict are endless; perhaps that’s why writers and poets have been obsessed with them for thousands of years. There’s a reason no one writes about bowls of fruit — human beings are simply more interesting. We learn soContinue reading “Pressed Leaves: The Genesis of Fictional Characters”

Flash Fiction Friday: Laundromat

Everybody comes to do laundry at the end of the week. Mostly women, often with children running up and down the rows of thrumming machines. They read paperback romances or poke at smartphones while the clothes spin. They come six or seven or eight loads at a time. One or two young men sit awkwardly,Continue reading “Flash Fiction Friday: Laundromat”