The Gulf Coast Blog

Craft • Culture • News

Craft • Culture • News

On Not Getting It Done

Michelle Oakes

The whale is a mammiferous animal without hind feet. --Baron Cuvier Whenever I find myself staring down my laptop, unkempt on the couch so the cats try to groom me; whenever it's late November and I'm reading a novel for fun; whenever I find myself trying…


Everything I Learned about Writing a Novel I Learned from Television

Aja Gabel

Sometimes I'm sitting here, trying to write more and more pages of a novel, and I feel despair and loneliness, and I think about seeing if anyone's tweeted anything funny lately (@mat_johnson usually has), and then I think of Homeland. I'm talking about…


Art Should Be Loud

Eric Howerton

A few years back, after nine months of living in Houston, I started listening to heavy metal music. When I was a teenager in the '90s I was familiar with popular heavy metal bands like White Zombie (psychedelic, campy blues metal), Korn (hip-hop laced,…


Life: The Dynamics of Misery

Olga Mexina

• Last will V. S. Let's agree to this: when I die, you will put a cross on my grave. Let it be like all other crosses, but we, my friend, we will know, it is--just a signature. As on paper the illiterate leaves his mark, I want to leave a cross in this…


You're Going to Be a Terrific Writer

Janine Joseph

Crystal unicorns watch, curious with silent knowledge. --from "Independent Weakness," 1999 I've sent out thousands of rejections. When I was in high school, I was an editor of the school's literary journal, Imagery, for two years, rejecting teenage poetry…


"I Open the Door and Invite the Wind Inside"

Frances Justine Post

[a line from Sherman Alexie's "The Exaggeration of Despair"] • I am a poetry geek. I didn't quite realize the extent of my geekery until this year when I started teaching my first workshop. As I was trying to come up with a syllabus, I tried to think…


Sunshine, Bunnies...Blah Blah Blah

Jameelah Lang

People don't like happy stories, and that's the truth. You may have heard, "Happiness writes white on the page," which basically means, "Keep your happy story to your damn self, because we don't want to hear it." This goes for life, too, and if you were…


Cheryl Strayed at the Texas Book Festival

Edward Porter

About a year ago, someone named Cheryl Strayed friended me on Facebook. We had a mutual friend, my wife, so I accepted. After that--the deluge. Strayed's Wild, her memoir about her partial through-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that she undertook in…


Beginning Creative Writing Students versus the Editors

Ashley Wurzbacher

[Wurzbacher, who is currently teaching first-year fiction at the University of Houston, would like to thank her English 3329 students for permission to reproduce excerpts from their critiques--contrasted here with the rather dimmer pronouncements of anonymous…


Texas Book Festival 2012

David Tomas Martinez

Sometimes there are unexpected pleasures that give surprising depths of delight. And not in a Christmas Eve kind of way--me a robust nine years old, knowing my parents bought me an Atari, so I stayed up all night, tossing and twirling in my racecar bed,…