Monthly Archives: November 2010

Greatest Movie Ever?

Today in class, after somehow the discussion had wandered into my thoroughly complex dissatisfaction* with the acting of Leonardo DiCaprio, one student asked if there was any movie that I actually genuinely liked. At the time I drew a blank. My head became that little Mac spinning beach ball of death. But if I had had my wits, I would have cited this movie.

Wampa goes out for lunch
Wampa goes out for lunch

The picture comes from The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back–the coffee-table sized documentary dork-a-thon that came out this past October and which would make a wonderful Christmas present.

But between this movie and, say, Bull Durham, what other filmic experiences does one need?

*and thoroughly justified

Accumulated Baggage


The good thing about never posting is that you eventually accumulate something worth posting.

And so it is with great pleasure that I link to a list of Ten Essential Southern Novels I wrote for Conversational Reading. Boiling down that list was instructive, revealing. So much gets left on the floor. For better or worse, there’s nothing too terribly idiosyncratic in my list, except for the fact that my list of novels includes four collections of stories. No matter, the collections are novelistically expansive, panoramically interesting. But it made me think of the paucity of my list-making ability. Get thee to the library! And it made me appreciate D.G. Myers’s energetic listing over at his excellent A Commonplace Blog. Here’s my favorite list he’s done thus far: Five Books of Professors.

In addition, I am happy to report that a short story of mine is in the newest issue of Louisiana Literature (27/2), available now in better bookstores and libraries everywhere. The story is called “Popular Baggage” and is included in the story collection that will come out next year. The story is my, ahem, High-School Prom story. Every writer who’s read Hemingway attempts a hunting story, and likewise, everyone who was a child in the 80s, or has seen too many John Hughes movies, has a High-School Prom story in them. My Prom story is a bit more like Carrie than Sixteen Candles, except there’s no blood, or telekinesis, or John Travolta, but there is dancing, by god.

Here’s how the story begins:

Continue reading Accumulated Baggage