Do not apologize for your sincerity.

Oh do you like dogs in costumes? You do? Here’s some more.

I’ve been going to parades, tiny ones and doggy ones, sometimes with grownups, and sometimes with the lovely and funny little girl next door. I’ve been carousing some. I saw a Zydeco show one night, and all the dancers were dreamy. I ate some pretty great barbecue. I learned some interesting personal histories, some heartbreaking. I found a sublet for March a few blocks away from where I am living now. Yoga, reading, drinking, eating. I ran into an adorable waiter from the Rabbit Hole in Williamsburg – one of my favorite morning coffee spots – who comes down every year for all of Mardi Gras to play the trumpet with a band here. He had the same smile on his face that I did.

And I bought my first King Cake and brought it to my landlord’s house and we sat there on a Sunday morning and had it with coffee and it was delicious.

Also I finished the first draft of my book! It needs so much work. But I am excited and proud that I executed it in the way that I did, even if I will have to throw some of it away. I’ve got all of March to intensely work on it here, and maybe April too, before it’s back to business on the east coast. I didn’t cry when it was over. There was no momentous exhalation of air. Only I was happy that I had accomplished the thing I set out to do.

Now, of course, the real work begins. It’s so rare when a book is pretty close to right on the first round. (The Middlesteins was my one exception – that book came out very close to fully realized.) But I move quickly, and if I can keep the bullshit to a minimum here (there is bullshit everywhere, I am sorry to report), I think I can have a solid second draft by the time I leave.

Focus, discipline, head down. Reading this stack of books in front of me. Long walks in the morning. Spending time with kind, interesting people. The quiet calm that comes from sincere contemplation. I embrace all of it. I welcome it. I am as open-hearted here as I can possibly be. The writing requires it. I won’t give that up.

But first: Mardi Gras. I’ve got a good parade schedule this weekend and next. Kerri’s coming to town, too. I will clap my hands and jump up and down and hoot and holler and save the sleep for another day. I can always catch up on sleep.


Following me on twitter or facebook is always a good idea if you want more regular updates.


Out now!

Kirkus Reviews gives it a starred review: "A sharp-tongued, sweet-natured masterpiece of Jewish family life." Find more praise from The New York Times, Fresh Air, All Things Considered, The Washington Post and more, right here. Order an autographed copy.
Download book club discussion questions.

And in paperback:

The Melting Season. Watch the trailer, or see coverage from Chicago Tribune, Marie Claire, O, New York Times, and more here. Buy an autographed copy from my favorite local independent bookstore, WORD Brooklyn!

The Kept Man. Watch the trailer, and read reviews from People, Time Out New York, Interview and more right here

Instant Love. Read coverage from O, New York, Daily Candy, and more here.

I am happy to come visit your book club in person or via phone or skype! Email me directly for more info.


flickr, twitter, tumblr , rss

The New York Times
NYTBR: All that We Hold Dear
NYT Mag: The Unlikely Chef
No, I'm the Narrator
A Shelf-Obsessed Writer
One Dark Night in My Neighborhood
An Apartment Affair
Life Lessons from Turning 40

The Hairpin
My History of Being Fat

Wall Street Journal
Fictional Foods: No Empty Calories
My Election Day

The Forward
A Chat with My Dad about Delicatessen

The Week
My 6 Favorite Books with Overweight Protagonists

Publishers Weekly
The Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature

Largehearted Boy
Book Notes: The Middlesteins
On the Men We Meet, and What Their Music Means to Us
Antiheroines: MK Reed
Antiheroines: Lisa Hanawalt
Antiheroines: Ellen Forney
Antiheroines: Emily Flake
Antiheroines: Vanessa Davis
Antiheroines: Julia Wertz
Antiheroines: Gabrielle Bell
Antiheroines: Sarah Glidden
Book Notes: The Kept Man
Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills Interviews Me
I Interview Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills
Book Notes: Instant Love

Jewish Book Council
Different, but Special

The Rumpus
Where I've Laid My Head
How To Write a Book in Two Months: The Rumpus Interview with Cole Stryker
The Fates Will Find Their Way Review
The Rumpus Interview with David Goodwillie and Teddy Wayne
The Rumpus Interview with Kate Christensen
The Last Book I Loved: Everything Matters!

Hit me with your vest shot
How I helped rescue the OWS library
Books you can dance to
Tracy Morgan cries for his mom -- and we cry, too

Poets & Writers
How to Use Tumblr to Connect with Readers (print only)

Lauren Groff Profile
Pizza Island Profile
The Rise of Small Presses
Wesley Stace Profile

Patrick Somerville Interview
Lauren Groff Interview
Nathan Englander Interview
Ellis Avery Interview
Elissa Schappell Interview
Kate Christensen Interview
Heather Havrilesky Interview
Julie Klam Interview
Jennifer Egan Interview
Maile Meloy Interview
Martha McPhee Interview

Village Voice
The 10 Best Things From 2011 To Listen To While Writing, According To Actual Authors

The Millions
A Year in Reading

How to Hunt for Architectural Salvage with the Designers of Spritzenhaus
Peter Loughrey Interview

No Baby Next Door, Please

Essay: Crossroads

The Awl
Flicked Off: In Which Two Ladies Do Yoga Then See 'Eat Pray Love'

Book Forum
Reality Hunger Review

Five Chapters
The Last Movie

Double X
Schrödinger's Cake

find more freelance work

join my mailing list.


The One Time I Needed Planned Parenthood
Big Book News #4
The Complete Story of How My Bike Got Stolen, How I Found it on Craigslist, and How I Got it Back
Mountain Backdrop: White Sands Missile Park
Big Book News #3
On Outlining Books
Advance Praise for The Kept Man
Shaving Jonny
The Big Book News #2
Artsy and Fartsy go to Coney Island
Blurry Pictures of Girls with Mustaches
Key Names from Instant Love
How Did I Miss the Hook?
Two Days in May
The Big Book News
Idiotarod 2005
Kiss Me on the Bus
Ronald Protests the RNC
Existential Crap
Happy Hour
Taco Hell
Idiotarod 2004: Race, Rest, Finish
Behave, Boys. Behave
26 Pics of People Kissing
All About George
September 11, 2001
My Imaginary Assistant Amanda

read more of my journal

search my shit.