I live in Olympia, Washington with my wife, Carin, and two kids, Elinor and Malcolm.
I teach writing, literature, and book arts at The Evergreen State College, where disciplines are fused in full-time programs taught by small teams of professors.
I studied writing and book arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I also worked at the Columbia College Center for the Book and Paper Arts.
My first novel, Little is Left to Tell, has been in the works for a long time. Two key sentences, “Mr Fin wakes with an eye like a sharp rock,” and “Mr Fin has always loved park benches,” were repeated throughout an early draft begun in college. Those sentences got me started on almost every new section of a very fragmented and poetic vision; I found the profound dullness of the sentences an easy way to open each new foray into Mr Fin’s melancholy days. The novel changed forms several times and became my graduate thesis at SAIC. At that time it was more of a book… that is, it wasn’t in book form as a matter of convenience, but I was using the recto and verso pages in a spatial dialogue with one another. This was exciting, and I kept developing it after graduate school, while finding a job in Olympia and while my wife and I had our babies. The visual / physical form felt vital, but in another sense, I was avoiding something. The story had always revolved around the connection between a Mr Fin and a David, and David usually died before some crucial story could exist between them. In the “book” version, this dynamic was explicitly the artifice of a third character, the verso page, the voice of a writer who observes the fictional process unfolding for the characters. You can imagine the right hand side of the page being the theater and the left hand side the playwright with limited control over what goes on, perhaps realizing, at last, why he wrote it in the first place, scribbling notes. But I was avoiding the thickness of the relationship between the Fin and David characters, and I was avoiding certain challenges: in that version, something called the “Story” had physical form: it tormented and evaded Mr Fin. I had to try writing my way into that unknown story. That’s where the rabbits came in.
I started the rabbit story separately, motivated by the need to write something else and by the discovery of a strange French language primer, Francais pour les jeunes — les lapins et les souris.