Train Ride

April 2, 2019

Find someone whose favorite part of Spirited Away is the train ride scene, and then cherish that person forever.


Quick Update

August 17, 2018

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this site! Everything (writing, teaching, life, etc.) is all going well. I’ve taught recent university classes on utopia/dystopia novels, pre-20th century supernatural novels, and short stories with the theme of love. I’ve taken recent trips to Norway, Germany, Sardinia, and America. My short stories have been published by quite a few journals recently (pictures below). I’ve finished a full-length collection, and this fall I’ll start the daunting process of trying to get it published. Korea (and most of the world) is terribly hot right now, and the news is mostly bad. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re somewhere cool and that you have someone near you who brings you happiness, such as a friend, lover, parent/child, good-natured co-worker, or a small animal companion.


The newest issue of Phoebe is out, and I’m happy to say that it includes my short story “The Fat Man Invites You to a Picnic by the Sea.” It’s a love story. I’m afraid it’s print-only, but here’s an excerpt:


          The fat man implores you to join him. This is a picnic for two.

          The menu will consist of a bucket of clams fresh from the sea, red-skinned potatoes tossed in sheep’s milk and blue cheese, acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and braised lamb, and one sliver of peppermint cheesecake, as small and rich as a poem.

          The picnic will be held tonight, just before sundown, at the gazebo overlooking The Devil’s Punchbowl, where the Pacific Ocean whirls and roils in that great rocky cauldron at the edge of the world. You know the place well. You visited it on your first outing with the fat man, drove there from Salem as he sat in the passenger seat smoking menthols and humming Mahler’s Fifth. At the time he was built like a carnival barker, rotund but not yet fully globular.

          His affection for you, however, was already immense…

          …You seemed to understand everything about the fat man. You saw that he was someone who for much of his life had felt invisible despite—in truth, because of—his tremendous size. So many times he had felt unseen by the rest of the world, by eyes that linger on the slender or the muscular but pass over the large and the soft. You realized that the fat man’s bombast was a form of revolution, a demand to be seen, demand to be acknowledged. He chose to embrace his girth, to flaunt it, to force the world to reckon with his immensity. You understood this. His size did not repel you. A spirit such as his, you said, required a grand container….


I hope everyone’s having a good 2017 so far. Maybe this year will be better than the last.


My first short story about Korea has just been published in the winter issue of Cleaver Magazine. Big thanks to Cleaver for the beautiful presentation!

You can check it out here:


If you have five minutes to spare, head over to Gravel magazine and check out my story “Train Nights,” which appears in the latest issue. I spent far, far too long researching late nineteenth / early twentieth century railroading for this story, which is under 1,000 words. It’s also a horror story. Happy October!

To read, follow this link:


A beautiful new issue of Fourteen Hills was recently released, and it includes my short story “If in the Night a Grizzly Bear,” which, out of all the stories I’ve written, has the best title.

The journal is print-only, but if you can get your hands on it, I hope you enjoy the story. It’s about a troubled man coming to terms with events in his past, which include surviving a plague of red dust and being subjected to a painful ordeal with a mysterious machine. The title comes from a “Montana lullaby” his grandfather sang to him:


If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes slinking through your door,

He’ll take a taste

Of your face

When you start to snore.


A grizzly bear’s a ghastly beast

With teeth as sharp as knives.

He’ll turn your tongue into a feast

And gobble up your eyes.



If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes crawling in your room,

Don’t delay,

Just start to pray

Before you meet your doom.


A grizzly bear’s a loathsome lout

With black and empty eyes.

He’ll open you from gut to snout

And snack on your insides.



If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes growling in your home,

You’re out of luck

‘Cause he will suck

The meat off all your bones.


A grizzly bear’s a gruesome brute

With paws of razor claws.

Your tender parts are juicy fruit

In his wretched jaws.



If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes creeping to your bed,

You’ll hope to die

After you eyes

Are gobbled from your head.


A grizzly bear’s a fiendish fiend

With fur as soft as lace.

He’ll give a belch after he’s cleaned

The meat off of your face.


I hope everyone’s having a nice summer.



I wrote an old-timey witch story that was just published in the newest issue of Literary Orphans, a beautiful online literary magazine. It includes some great unsettling art (especially in the browser version) by Menerva Tao that fits the story’s tone really well. You can check it out here:

(Art above is “Secrets” by Menerva Tao)



My short story “Dangerous to Go Alone” has just been published in issue 7 of Pinball, a very cool online literary magazine. This story is a re-imagining of an iconic moment in video game history, from the The Legend of Zelda. Hope you like it!

looking out window

Night Train Magazine has just published two of my short stories: a post-apocalyptic Thanksgiving story and a strange baseball story. They’re both very short. You can read them right now on your computer and no one can stop you.

Fashion Tips for Teachers

September 8, 2014


“Same pants, different day, A-OK.” If, like me, you teach some classes that meet Monday and Wednesday and others that meet Tuesday and Thursday, this is the perfect opportunity to wear the same pair of pants two days in a row. You’ll be seeing entirely new students, so no one will know you’re wearing the same pants (and most likely underwear) as the previous day. It’s theoretically possible to also wear the same shirt, but this is riskier, as someone in the teacher’s office might notice and then make disparaging remarks about you to the other teachers when you go to class. You should be fine with the pants, though, because none of the other teachers care about your pants.


If you have a really nice shirt that has a noticeable stain, don’t throw it away! You can wear it once for each new class you teach – just pretend you got the stain that day. Your students will think, “What a nice shirt that is, and how fashionable is my teacher,” while at the same time feeling sorry for you because of the stain. Everyone will think you’re having a bad day since you spilled something on your shirt, and they won’t want to make it worse, so they’ll be extra polite and well-behaved.


If you have a super fashionable coat, find an excuse to wear it to class. The best method is to arrive late. You can come straight from home, or just hang out in the teacher’s office until five minutes past starting time. Then you’ll need to rush to your classroom, where all your students will be waiting for you. As you prepare the day’s teaching materials, you can continue to wear your coat as you “warm up” while looking really stylish. Another tactic is to pretend the heater isn’t working. Then you can just go ahead and give your lecture wearing your coat, but be sure to periodically grumble about how cold the room is and complain about building management so the students know you’re on their side – you’re all in this together, suffering from the cold but looking great.


Frayed belt loops: everyone gets them. The material on the outside of the belt loop gets worn away over the years, revealing a sub-layer of embarrassingly white threads. You might think at this point that your only option is to throw the pants away, or maybe burn them, but this problem can actually be solved in the privacy of your own home with a simple classroom board marker. Just color in the white threads with the marker! image

The pants in the example photo are brown, and brown board markers don’t exist, so just go with black. Only the students in the front row will be able to notice the difference, and they won’t tell anyone because front row students are your friends and don’t want to hurt you. Please remember, though, that board markers aren’t waterproof, so you’ll need to reapply after each wash.

Keep looking good, teachers!