Author Archive

Writ in Water: Interview with Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the celebrated collection Battleborn and widely acclaimed novel Gold Fame Citrus, talks with me about writing and living the West, conservation and resistance and optimism in the world of Trump, and faith in the "California experiment."

Writ in Water: Interview with Brit Bennett and “The Mothers”

Author: | Categories: Authors, Interviews No comments
Brit Bennett talked with me about her new novel "The Mothers," and about the power of place--writing in the West through many communities--"performing California-ness," the weird excitement for wildfire season, forever building piers into the ocean, and In-N-Out burger.

Writ in Water: Reservation Round

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
In a space like this, when we talk about genre fiction, we are often talking about its limitations: its conventions, its shallowness, its easy accessibility, its (overly) familiar repetitions, its elastic distance behind the invisible but razor-wired line of the literary.

Writ in Water: Cowboy State of Mind

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Wyoming is the Cowboy State. The University of Wyoming mascot is Cowboy Joe. The Bucking Horse & Rider is a registered trademark. Rodeo is the state sport. The state is home to a thriving fossil fuel industry. It has always prided itself on its ruggedness, its self-sufficiency, its don’t-give-a-damn

Writ in Water: The Good Fortunes of Peter Ho Davies

Author: | Categories: Authors, Interviews No comments
Peter Ho Davies is the author of two collections, The Ugliest House in the World and Equal Love, and the novel The Welsh Girl. His new novel, The Fortunes, is out this month.

Writ in Water: Millimeters to the End of the World

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
How do you write about the end of the world? Or avoiding the apocalypse? The drying up of our water or our adaptation to living with less? How do you imagine—and make real—global superstorms and cities swallowed by the sea and the hottest summers on record?

Writ in Water: Retraining the Distance Vision

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
There’s a passage in Donna Tartt’s celebrated The Goldfinch, almost a third of the way in, where our protagonist Theo Decker first touches down in Las Vegas. He is arriving for the first time in the West, and Tartt and her literary eye are too.

Writ in Water: Yellow Not Mellow

Author: | Categories: Authors, Fiction, Reading, Series, Writing No comments
A sight now common across California: the yellow toilet bowl. Conscientiously curated, it’s a light shade of daffodil, lemon, banana; this is early in the lifespan, the visitors before you healthy and drinking plenty of water.

Writ in Water: Interview with Chris McCormick and “Desert Boys”

This month, I chat with author Chris McCormick, whose terrific debut of linked stories, Desert Boys, follows main character Daley “Kush” Kushner and his friends Robert Karinger and Dan Watts. The book is largely set in the growing desert suburbia of the Antelope Valley, 70-odd miles north of Los

Writ in Water: Son of Salinas

Author: | Categories: Authors, Reading, Series, Writing No comments
  Last month, I mentioned John Steinbeck’s famous declaration about the forgetfulness of his beloved Salinas Valley in matters of water and drought. He is fortunate that the valley has not forgotten him. The National Steinbeck Center commands one end of Main Street in downtown Salinas, and a walk