makkai Archive

So Sue Me…

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized 3 Comments
Consider this a public service announcement. In 2010, I was nearly sued by the estate of The Music Man. Over an apostrophe and the letter S. In a literary short story. Bear with me, because this story is about you.

The Thirsty Games

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
It’s so cold in Chicago that the temperature isn’t even negative; it has one of those calculus sigmas in front of it, and there’s some kind of logarithm involved. Maybe you’re sitting in the sun on your California balcony, you ingrate, but here in the Midwest there’s little to

One Gift Guide to Rule Them All

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It’s getting late, people. And your literary friends expect brilliant Festivus gifts from you. So let’s get cracking! Here’s something for everyone on your list. For the English major: These fake blood page markers and some hipster glasses. (Remember: your goal is not to educate the English major. Your

Dear Lois Lowry

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I recently realized that the list of all the things I’ve written (a list that, weirdly for a fiction writer, somehow includes song lyrics, listicles, and sestinas), does not include a fan letter. I’ll Facebook message friends with “Hey, loved the new story!”—but I’ve never emailed a stranger, out

14 Ways to Tick off a Writer

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“I love throwing rocks at tigers in the zoo,” you say, “but now that the weather’s cold, I need an indoor activity.” Look no further. Writers are fun and easy to annoy. Minimum effort, maximum rage. Try these 14 simple tricks, and you might never need to pay for

My First Nemesis

Author: | Categories: Writing 3 Comments
I can only admit this because I believe I’m not alone. I believe that every writer—maybe every creative person, maybe anyone whose life is ruled by ambition, by a calling beyond rationality—has an imaginary nemesis. The person isn’t imaginary, mind you. But the rivalry is. Here’s what I mean

The Coffeeshop You Meet in Heaven

Author: | Categories: Writing 4 Comments
The New York Times blog recently highlighted a website called Coffitivity that plays ambient coffee shop noise on an endless loop to help you work more productively from home. I can only assume they previously deduced, through the same vigorous scientific trials I myself have undertaken, that Barista Noise

The Five Books I’d Rescue From the Fire

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I have favorite books. And then I have favorite books, as in, the objects themselves, the ones made weird and irreplaceable by the extra markings in or on them—the annotations, the inscriptions, the love notes. When people ask for my “favorites,” this is the list I actually want to

Ask This, Not That

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I once heard a story about John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, contributing a lunch date to a silent auction. And my first thought was, “This is one of the most generous things that man could possibly do.” Not because it took tremendous time or energy, but because how