I send my son to the Church of Instagram


I shared a photo on Instagram the other day of my son. He’s three, and has appeared in hundreds of photos online. He’s quite photogenic, and, in fact, is also the most heart-achingly-adorable three-year-old boy who ever lived, I say this because maybe you’ve heard of him.

Anyway, it was an unseasonably warm April day in suburban Buffalo. My son, whom I will call Bub in this essay about his privacy, had behaved well and eaten his vegetables.

“Please,” Bub said. “Please, please, please. Is it time to play in the sprinkler?” Usually it’s not until late June when the temperature is warm enough for that. But it was in the low seventies at dusk, and a mild but stubborn winter had just ended, and my wife and I thought, “yeah, sure.”

You know how thrilled three-year-olds get when they realize you have just acceded to their whim. Minutes later, after calling the garden hose names and snapping at my wife only once, I turned the handle and the dog-shaped plastic sprinkler with the crazy hose-hair began flooding the lawn, which still awaited its first cut of spring.

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Podcast: Episode 1. Rebecca Heyman. “Creativity needs a container.”

Rebecca Heyman has been a freelance book editor for the last ten years. One of the things she’s especially good at is evaluating a novel, from the big picture down to the level of sentences. It’s a tough job. A novel is complex machine with so many moving parts, it’s impossible to keep entirely in your head at once, even for the person who is writing it.

To do this, she says, method is important. “People say, ‘I’m just too creative for that,'” she says, referring to some clients’ resistance to mapping out a story and planning ahead. To that, Heyman says, bull. 

“Creativity needs a container,” she says. “You can’t just let an author’s mind spiral into the abyss.” That’s what a story is anyway, isn’t it? It’s imposing order on events where there isn’t any in real life. Strangely, though, this artifice helps us to understand real life better.

Heyman is also the founder and director of The Work Conference, a boutique writing conference that held its innaugural event in New York City in March of this year. She brought together two dozen writers, along with literary agents, guest authors, and editors, for discussions of craft and strategies for writers to improve their own writing.

Heyman is the owner of Rebecca Faith Editorial, and she’s based in the Boston area.

Rebecca Heyman on Twitter.

So far, only Hillary Clinton has said “weck”

I don’t remember a time when my state has mattered so much in a primary, and may even matter in a general election.


Hillary Clinton speaks at the Pierce Arrow Museum in Buffalo on Friday, Apr. 8 2016. Photo: Reuters

So we’ve had visitors.

Friday, Hillary Clinton came to Buffalo’s Pierce Arrow Museum on Michigan Street. Maybe 1,000 people were there. At least 100  were turned away because it was so crowded inside. The cops said we couldn’t come in, but I had press credentials for Continue reading