About Me

My photo
MFA in Writing at Vermont College

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Time for Giving Thanks

A list of things for which I am thankful:

·         Bacon

·         The Green Bay Packers undefeated season (so far)

·         Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

·         Tom Waits' early albums

·         The new Andrew Clements book on my nightstand

·         Candy (those of the sweets variety and my wife)

·         Origami Yoda

·         John Axford’s fastball

·         The color blue

·         Pencil Thin mustaches

·         The Wine Pit!

·         The eloquence of Trevanian

·         Hannah, Kevin, Sarah, Ben, Charlie, Claire and Natalie

·         Root Beer

·         The PB&J stand at the Detroit Airport

·         My mother  (Hi Mom!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I want to be a whale!

Yes, this is partly because I think it would be cool to have a tail.
Yes, this is partly because I have always wanted to speak in moans and screeches.
Yes, this is partly because I love to eat seafood.
And Yes, this is partly because I think the name Killer Whale would be totally awesome.

But today I want to be a whale because they are so calm and collected as they glide through the ocean despite the fact they can’t breathe under water.   If I spent the majority of my day in an environment in which I could not breathe I would be thrashing and flailing like a madman.  But not whales.  They simply remain calm, coast around the ocean and surface every four hours or so for a little air. 

No big deal that they can’t breathe!

I want to be a whale because at the moment I feel as if I live in an environment in which I can’t breathe.  I am currently writing this post while staring at an overflowing in-box, a little red flashing light on my office phone is blinking at me, my email inbox says there are 34 unread messages and I am behind with my VCFA packet.   I sure do wish I could calmly look at all of this and gently glide away without a care in the world like a whale.  Instead I am thrashing and flailing like a madman.

Deep breaths Jeff!  Deep breaths!

It could be worse.

I could be Joe Paterno.
I could be a Wisconsin politician.
I could be at an opera.
I could be dog sitting my friend's Rottweiler.
I could be losing my hair (wait that IS happening!)
I could be napping in a bear’s den.
I could be out in the freezing cold deer hunting.
I could be watching a romantic-comedy (they are neither romantic nor comedic!)

Okay… I am feeling better. 
I have come up for air, now it is back to the ocean.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

My book jacket - these words could strangle my story!

What to do with a critique that pile drives your story to pulp?  How to react to a review that gives your story repeted dropkicks to the solar plexus?   How to handle comments that shred your book to confetti?

I reccommend turning them into book jacket blurbs. 

I will now attempt to take actual comments made during a critique last evening of one of my stories and turn them into blurbs for my book jacket.  I hope they don't strangle my book!

Excessive Humor, Excessive Humor, Excessive Humor - Humor can't kill you, can it?

This book rivals a novel of blank pages!

If you enjoy repetition, redundancy and someone telling you the same thing over and over then read this book!

Inactivity and Neurotic Characters =  a hit!   Like hit me over the head!

You should read this book!  And other things Mr. Schill will TELL and not show you!

A wonderful children’s tale told through Mr. Schill’s mouth and not his characters!

If you enjoy basket-case characters and neuroses then this is the book for you!

Who doesn’t enjoy useless Midwestern language?

Story, Plot and Voice are overrated.  Read this book!

Who needs likable characters… read about people you hate!

The perfect book to put you to sleep!