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Neat Lesson is the online home of The Sea Wren, an experimental novel in progress, the Failbutter Cookbook, and other related adventures . . .


Why Is Failbutter? 

I do recognize that's a weird question. I know the syntax is wonky: I've taught writing and literature at some of the most highly ranked university programs in the United States. (And yes, they do rank them.) So, I get it. "Failbutter" is pretty uncomfortable. But, for now, that's what we're going with.

Are books dying? Is 

I cut my teeth on writing with poetry. Sometimes it did rhyme. That said, I think of "poetry" as another name for experimental writing, for exploring words and ideas and music . . . and for the envelope that you can put all of those things in.

Having said all that, if I can lay claim to being a writer, it's because, as Thomas Mann famously said, a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult.  I think reading is, too, sometimes. All the good stuff gets tricky, if you think about it.

[insert paragraph about failure here]

You and yours are invited to come along with us for the ride.

It's a bad idea: everyone knows that you don't share early drafts with the world. That's SO EMBARRASSING. However, I think we all know that making mistakes is better than not trying at all. So, here we are. 

I'm doing Failbutter so that, ultimately, I can have made some of the good stuff. And so my family can be with me in writing, that traditionally isolationist practice. And so that you can, too. With any luck, we're all going to learn a lot from this. 

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