Friday, December 31, 2021



…Happy New Year. You deserve one without stress or anguish or longing. I hope you get it. What I really hope is that you get everything you’ve ever wanted, and then some. Truly.

...Pete just flew by, just this minute, so I'm taking that as a good omen.


…Last night I wrote an essay for a contest. At 2,500 words, it was the longest thing I’ve written in at least half a decade. Can you guess what it was about?


…I’ve gotten a lot better at forgiving. Doesn’t mean it’s gotten easier. But I’ve been forgiven plenty. Plus, I’m running the last lap now, so why drink rat poison?


…Pretty sure I would make a good hunger striker. Pretty sure I need to leave that bottle alone. Pretty sure I’m not very sure about much. 


…I wish I could smell something. Anything really. Even something awful.


…Right now, it’s a snow globe outside, and it’s stunning in every which way. There are ducks sitting on a ledge of ice that’s formed at one end of the lake.


…Every morning I wake to 40+ emails and yet there’s never anything there.

I remember when I was a kid and it used to be exciting to run to the mailbox, to see if you got a letter from someone you cared about. Now it’s all just recycle.


…If things go according to plan, I’ll be speaking Spanish by this time next year.


…Somedays it’s a wonderful life, and somedays lonely is busy doing what lonely does.


…I guess the joke’s on me again. I thought I was the same guy I’ve always been, but maybe a notch or two improved.


…Growing up, the walls were always too thin. Same thing with my skin.


…Brittany Howard’s Tiny Desk—now that’s something that brings me complete joy.


…This fucking virus. I know so many people who have it, and it was none of their fault.


…What, what? On Wednesday SeaTac had the most flight cancellations in the ENTIRE WORLD. 


…Once you live through a 5-day power outage, with two feet of snow, you’re never nervous driving in the snow ever again.


…I’m a little nervous about these New Year Resolutions of mine. How do you feel about yours?


…Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be…something?


…Ryan Reynolds is the celebrity I’d most like to have a beer and play shuffleboard with. He just passed Kristen Wiig and George Clooney in that regard.


…Have I told you lately how much I love Lucy?


…Last night I wrote about loneliness. It was maybe the saddest thing I’ve ever written. Good grief.

The dad of a person I worked with in the corporate world invented the epidural. His nickname was “The King of Pain,” which I always thought would be a great title. My nickname might be "The King of Darkness.”


Must have been in a dream. I’m losing track of my thoughts.


…There’s something about shopping online that’s addictive. Knowing something’s coming, having something to look forward to, even if it’s only razor blades or fiber gummies.


…All of these famous people passing away in their 80’s has me wondering.


…It’s funny the things you remember, even just strips of conversations. Like I recall a guy from college who told me, “Kuntz, your problem is you think too much.” He had no idea what he was saying.


…Another year... Isn’t that the best thing ever, other than the birth of a child?


 Cried about you this morning on my break from the office, couldn’t steady my breathing. I keep my heart in my pocket.


…The real problem is all of the best songs are sad.


…But not this one:


…It’s the things you keep from saying to other people that are the hardest. They think you’re thinking this, when you’re not. They think you’re in one place, when you’re not at all. All I’ll say is that it requires a tremendous amount of willpower to maintain silence, and that it’s never best to assume anything.


…I love you 20 million and fifteen bucks.


…You and I, here right now, we’ve been through an awful lot together. I’m so grateful for that. You have no idea. Truly.


…Goodbye is the worst word I know, which is why I never say it, which is why I never will.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021



Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed



This is the highlight of my life, spending time with you.


To me, the first step in accomplishing anything is to believe that you can do it before you start.


Talent is a pursed interest.


We don’t make mistakes. We have happy accidents.


Paint anything. Paint what makes you happiest.


You didn’t know you had so much power, did you?


I hunt with a canvas.


With a canvas I can do anything. I have endless freedom and there are endless possibilities.


It takes a special woman to live with a crazy person.


With success, you just move onto the next thing. With mistakes, or happy accidents, you have to really work to correct the flaw, and that’s where all the growth and learning happens. And it’s wonderful.


That’s the most fun part about painting—taking out your hostilities and frustrations.


By the time a kid gets to be 12 or 14, if they hear some negative feedback, they almost always give it up.


I realized I could take these emotions I had and turn them into something beautiful.


It’s amazing what you can do with a two-inch brush.


This is a day you can just be cozy, and things change around you if you want them to.


Every day is like a painting. It’s a gift.


If Bob saw an injured animal he’d do everything he could to save it.


He wanted to make people feel that they were valuable.


Bob liked the thrill of watching a new student smile.


His joy and love just illuminated a room.


It’s not like he wanted to scare people, he wanted to thrill them.


He was always speaking with this liquid tranquilizer voice that was very sexy. 


Even if you’d never met him in person, he was like a best friend.


After his wife died, his paintings got darker. I don’t think he was even aware of it, but your mood affects your art.


I don’t think my father had any idea of the impact he had on people. Even when he was hugely famous, he never really knew.


After he died, everything changed. I thought about life and death and everything in between


Monday, December 27, 2021




HAMNET  /  Maggie O’Farrell




There is, she had found, great power to be had in silence.


And then he realizes, with a sharp undertow of shame, Agnes will see how matters stand and she will see him for what he is; a man with his leg caught in the jaws of a trap.


She is like a painting on the wall, eyes missing nothing.


A glover will only want the skin, the surface, the outer layer. Everything else is useless, an inconvenience, an unnecessary mess.


The branches of the forest are so dense you cannot feel the rain.


It means business this pain. It will not leave her be. It means to force her out of herself, to turn what is inside outside.


How is anyone ever to shut the eyes of their dead child?


You see, she says to him, you cannot change what you are given, cannot bend or alter what is dealt to you.


Time runs only one way.


She lays there, sleeping, like a woman who had swallowed the moon.


He must hold himself separate in order to survive. If he were to go under, he would drag them all with him.


Is this what it feels like to die, to sense the nearness of something you can’t avoid?


How easy is it, Agnes thinks, to miss the pain and anguish of one person, if that person keeps quiet, if he keeps it all in.


It is both a joy and a curse.


“I’m here. Are you?”

Friday, December 24, 2021




…Merry Christmas. 

What are your plans? 

I can see you in the kitchen, waving a spatula around like it’s a checkered flag, apron on, smiling, love all around you, taking in the heavy aromas that I can’t smell anymore.


…RIP Joan Didion. Like a lot of writers, I discovered you too late.


…It can be a little frightening—the things I have no recollection about. On the other hand, some of the ones I do remember still scare the fuck out of me on a daily/nightly basis.


…Sometimes I have anxiety just driving to the store, even when there are no other cars around, and I’m like, WTF? Why?

For some of us, things are different and more difficult. That doesn’t make us a victim, but it doesn’t make it less true either.


…Pensive or hammered last night? Hmm. Maybe a bit of both.


…Some people, like my best friend, live in sunshine every day. Am I jealous? Yeah, kind of. But he deserves it, plus I’ve become a fan of a heavy snowfall. Looks like one is on tap for the weekend.


…Being true to yourself, “living your truth,” is something that’s mostly evaded me, and if I’m being honest, I’m not even sure I know what that means.


Oh, The Places You’ll Go!—despite my age, and everything—is still one of my very favorite books.


…Today I feel optimistic. I shouldn’t, because there’s the news and a new variant afoot, yet I am.


…“I’m so confused,” isn’t necessarily a bad sentiment if you eventually end up learning something new.


…The tricky thing is knowing how much someone genuinely cares about you, or doesn’t. Everything hinges on the difference.


…If I can keep any memory for all time, let it be, “Dad! Dad! It’s a double rainbow!!”


…With the right beat thumping, my son can free-style for hours. Really, he can. Watching him do that isn’t any different than if I’d been lucky enough to watch Van Gogh paint.


…I should get over it already, but I still miss Mac. Like with JW, when I think of him, there’s reverence but also arms of groping gloom, and it’ll probably always be that way.


…And sometimes I think, What’s it matter? If I have a new book? If I’ve written anything today? Eaten today? Published or submitted anything? Exercised? Got to 100 books? If I’ve lied to myself again?


…It’s always a smart strategy to overlook, and override, the bad things that circle your mind. 

And yet, they were real. 

They actually happened.


…Starting a new book—best thing ever, or awful? What say you?


…I will say that Hamnet kept me crying the last 100 pages.


…Not sure if “Africa” by Toto is genius or gibberish. Same with the new Diane Williams book. Same with most of what I write.


…Having best friends who are there for you, who see your ugly and still love you unconditionally, who still show up—that’s as good as it gets.


Life is life, La-la la-la-la.


…I often think to myself, Poor, Nick Drake.


…I don’t mean to go dark, same as I never intend to hurt myself. But sometimes it happens. Sometimes it happens a lot.


You can call me, ‘Stacy.’ You can call me, ‘Love.’ You can call me, ‘Baby’ or any of the above…”


…(X) said, “When you’re struggling, you can call me.” Then (X) added, “You can call me any day. Any hour.” It was that last part which made me understand (X) actually meant it, and I felt instantly flushed with gratitude.


…It’s funny the things you can remember without even trying.


…If you can make me feel safe around you, I’m in. I’m your friend for life.


…People come and go, but some go and still stick around for the rest of your life.  


…Dear God. 

What’s on your mind? 

Are you annoyed, because it sure seems like it?

And is the future really as fucked as it seems?


Wednesday, December 22, 2021







For once, 

let’s be clear:

these are 

fentanyl days, 

every leaf lethal

and jittery, 

roots shook with anxiety, 

an alarm clock clanging 

just below my 

root beer teeth. 

There’s an angry 

wasp burrowing

through my ear.  

A centipede slinking

down my throat. 

A drone climbing 

up my nostril 

all stubborn and 


But it’s winter 

solstice, nonetheless,

my, Love, three more 

minutes of sunshine

stapled into our 

untrusting veins, 

a skein of clouds 

covering our tracks 

so that we couldn’t 

find our way back 

even if we wanted to.  


Monday, December 20, 2021




Weeping Figs



After you left, 

I staggered.

I drooled and drooped.  

I stole. 

I arsoned. 

Crashed a plane.

Hit a cop. 

Punched someone’s dad. 

Someone’s kid.

A pastor. 

I ditched my best friend.

Lost a mind.

And I stopped masturbating 



After you left,

I checked boxes, 

the ones that said 

Widower. Depressive. 


The ones that said

Regret. Repent.

Guilty. Guilty.

After you left, 

I pushed the 

bruise some more, 

bloom to bone,

pulse to puce.

I tried to bring the 

plastic fig

back to life but got 

slivers in my gums instead, 

Satan on my tongue, undead.

I scooped a dead 

guppy from the tank,

held it in my palm 

and imagined it was you, 

sweat-slick and sated,

peacefully slumbering on 

the sheets that day 

in May.


After you left, 

the trees

turned on me. 

The deer carried machetes, 

the swallows dropped A bombs 

and F bombs 

because they believed 

in us that much.

In hope

that much.

So, I stopped 

eating entirely.


After you left, 

I scrolled through our diary, 

all our desecration 

and accusations, 

mopping up 

the bloody screen with

my last hitched-up breath, 

wondering if

Me meant me and 

You really meant you.



After you left,

I set the table.

Lit a candle.

Watched the wax 

walk it all back, 

so foolish again, 

to think wishing is the 

same thing as doing.

Friday, December 17, 2021




…This year I’ve hardly submitted or had published anymore pieces than in 2020 (though I’ve now come out of my funk). So, it was pretty exhilarating to wake up yesterday to this:


Best Microfiction 2022 Nominations





“Later” by Francine Witte


“First Class” by Len Kuntz


“Bluebeard’s Third Wife by Epiphany Ferrell


“Love Me Tonight” by MFC Feeley


“Geneva” by Mike Lee


Riding Bikes Without Training Wheels” by Jennifer Todhunter


Here’s the piece, in case you missed it:


...Yesterday was the second-best writing “feel good” day I’ve had all year, and I’m going to hold onto to that feeling for a while.

I hope you’re holding onto something joyful as well, and that you have a fantastic weekend. 

...As always, thanks so much for being here with me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021





GETTING OFF / Erica Garza



Here is what I have learned about traumas. Trauma can be ordinary.


I’d rather stick with the thing that gets me off—I’m bad, bad, bad.


I romanticized brokenness as a means of resisting change.


All the best writers had rough childhoods.


There are some things in life you don’t remember, no matter how hard you try.


And then there are those things we cannot forget, memories we play over and over in our heads because they have a history of significance in them—they make us who we are.


“This is an important word,” she started. “Masturbation.”


“You’re only saying that because you love me. But thanks.”


I was clueless, actually, but completely malleable.


There was something new to be ashamed about.


Could I be worthy of friendship and fun?


What would happen next? What else would I say yes to?


We had appetites as big as our problems.


After all, if I couldn’t love myself completely, then I could at least try to love someone who seemed as broken up inside as I was.


I nodded and acted surprised every time he announced his measurements because I understood what it was like to hide.


You deserve so much more, I thought.


Jealousy wasn’t sexy. I got that now.


It was a familiar feeling—not knowing.


He saw me and I saw him, and we were in new territory.


The moment you are willing to change, it is remarkable how the Universe begins to help you. It brings you what you need.


Now I had the opportunity to go there, and to say to a person, This is who I am. Do you accept me?


Look at me looking at you.