A Real Writer?

I just received my first manuscript rejection from a New York literary agent.

I’m relieved to have this mandatory hazing ritual out of the way. Strangely, I feel more like “a real writer” now than any minor successes have ever caused. Perhaps I am consoled by a small sense of pride that this didn’t emotionally phase me. The juvenile phase of self-righteous indignation whenever someone calls “my baby” ugly has come and gone, thank God. (If fact, for a rejection it was quite civil).

I know that I’m happy with what I wrote; I know it can make some money for myself and some press; and I know there isn’t an agent or press on Earth who’s going to tell me “it’s perfect as it is; we’ll print it at once!”

There is an eerie peace to be had in knowing that it is now beyond my strength to alter without the aid of a professional editor. In some metaphysical sense, the process is already over. I just have to keep submitting.

Peter Hoheisel’s ‘South to the Rio Grande’ Available Now!

Hoheisel SttRG Facebook Announcement

My friend Prof. Peter Hoheisel’s new poetry book, South to the Rio Grande, is now available for purchase. It was a pleasure to work as his editor and defacto agent throughout this process, eventually finding the perfect home for this manuscript at New York’s Clare Songbirds Publishing House.

Peter is a free-verse poet inspired by the likes of Yeats and Rexroth, and his book comes as a breath of fresh air to anyone who still likes their poetry decipherable and meaningful.

You can read more about our collaboration, including an interview I conducted with him and our dual-appearance on a radio program, here.

The Meat of a Collection

Which of my books would I prioritize regaining if they were lost?

It’s a difficult question, and to my own surprise I found an unintentional theme while attempting to answer it. I feel perfectly comfortable with never again owning most of my fiction and poetry titles, knowing they can always be revisited via library. This is probably due to the fact that I’m now more interested in writing my own fiction than ingesting others’, and it’s rare that I need fictional works as a reference, whereas having major works of history and philosophy at hand are indispensable.

So, while I would never recommend anyone neglect fiction or poetry, it would be disingenuous to include such titles here. And, more often than not, I would simply recommend classics of the “no, duh” variety in those genres, whereas a few of my nonfiction selections manage to avoid the status of household names.



Theodore Draper’s A Struggle for Power

Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Davis’ Three Roads to the Alamo

Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln (Prairie & War Years)

Shelby Foote’s Civil War



The Landmark Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Arrian, Julius Caesar

Plutarch’s Lives

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall

Graves’ Greek Myths and White Goddess

Hall’s Secret Teachings of All Ages

Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations



Lin Yutang’s The Wisdom of China and India

Watson’s Grand Historians of China








Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Le Morte D’arthur

William Blake




Marlowe Faustus

Goethe Faust



Nietzsche’s Zarathustra

Machiavelli’s Prince

Mishima’s Sun and Steel

Clason’s Richest Man in Babylon