Things I Wrote This Year i.e. 2015 by me Gabe

First Kevin Nguyen asked me to do a “reader’s guide” for the Oyster Review, so I wrote about all the Philip Roth novels. Some of them I hadn’t read in a long time, but the story of Roth’s career is one I’ve been tracking for like 20 years. This is probably the piece of criticism I’m most proud of qua criticism.

Then I pitched Dan Kois on a column about children’s books for the Slate Book Review. “It would review new and not-so-new kids books, but it would also be about the experience of reading to children, which as you know is a big and profound and sometimes fascinating and sometimes very tedious part of parenthood,” I wrote, perhaps overfamiliarly. And “It would eschew the usual inane children’s-book-review voice, e.g. Younger children will respond to the lively illustrations.

I wrote four of them: one about how my daughter learned about death, one about how sick I was of The Poky Little Puppy, one about a trick that writers of children’s books use to make parents cry, and one that didn’t quite come off about kids’ superhero comics.

Then I got a job at Slate, and one of the nice things about working at Slate is that someone’s always sending you a writing prompt. I need blog items about sleep!, they’ll say, or The holiday survival guide needs content. So I wrote about sleep and how we’re doing it wrong, and about how to make it through the holidays when someone in your family has just died, and about a dumb thing that middle-school English teachers are doing.

So I have a full-time permanent staff job now, for the first time in a loooong time. I really like it.

Did I write any fiction? I did. Did I finish it? I did not.