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Other Works

Essays for the General Reader

"High on Dead Center," The Village Voice, April 19, 1988, 166; reprinted in The Riverfront Times, April 27, 1988.

"A Literary Map of St. Louis," 
St. Louis Magazine, November 1990, 14-15.

"Dear Reviewer," 
The San Francisco Review of Books, 19:3 (June/July 1994), 20; reprinted in The Best Writing on Writing, vol. 2, ed. Jack Heffron (Story Press, 1995), 155-157; in The Vocabula Review, July 2001; and in Where the Stories Come From, ed. Sibyl Johnston (Addison-Wesley Longman, 2001), 227-229.

"I Left
My Wife for Nexis," The San Francisco Review of Books, 20:5/6 (Nov./Dec. 1995), 29-31.

"Diamonds Are Forever," 
St. Louis Magazine, March/April 1996, 78-79; reprinted as "Sunday Morning Ball at the J," in Seeking St. Louis, ed. Lee Ann Sandweiss (Missouri Historical Society Press, 2000), 957-961, and in Scoring from Second: Writers on Baseball, ed. Philip F. Deaver (U. of Nebraska Press, 2007), 300-303.

"Something Wrong With the Boy," 
The Oxford American, June/July 1996, 38-40; reprinted in St. Louis Magazine, Nov. 1997, 59-61.

"Assault on Taum Sauk," 
St. Louis Magazine, Dec. 1997, 24-27.

"My Brilliant Career," 
St. Louis Magazine, Jan. 1998, 26-29.

"My Sewer," 
St. Louis Magazine, March 1998, 26-29.

"A Game of Concentration," 
St. Louis Magazine, May 1998, 26-29.

"I Am Not a Chump," 
St. Louis Magazine, July 1998, 24-27; reprinted in The Ottawa Citizen, September 21, 2001, D1, D5.

"Fear and Loathing at the Post Office," 
St. Louis Magazine, Sept. 1998, 26-29.

"Rage, Rage," 
St. Louis Magazine, Nov. 1998, 24-27.

"Little Things That Don't Cost Nothing," 
St. Louis Magazine, Jan. 1999, 30-33; reprinted as "The Muse of Mopar" in The Vocabula Review, March 2001; in The Arts & Letters Daily; in The Ottawa Citizen, May 11, 2001, C1, C4; and in the Vancouver Sun-Times, The Windsor Star, and The Brantford Expositor (all Canada). 

"The Education of a Slouch," 
St. Louis Magazine, March 1999, 24-27.

"Titanic Blunders," 
St. Louis Magazine, May 1999, 24-27; reprinted in The Vocabula Review, Dec. 2000, in Vocabula Bound, ed. Robert Hartwell Fiske (Marion Street Press, 2004), 238-243, and in The Arts & Letters Daily; excerpted in The Guardian (UK), Jan. 5, 2001, p. 14. 


"When in Rome . . ." St. Louis Magazine, August 1999, 24-26; reprinted as "How To Err in Italian" in The Vocabula Review, March 2003, and in Not Your Mother's Book on Travel (Publishing Syndicate, 2013), 221-227.

"Celebrity Sightings," St. Louis Magazine, October 1999, 20-24.

"A.E. Hotchner: St. Louis' Best Memoirist," 
St. Louis Magazine, December 1999, 20-24.

"The Old College Try," 
St. Louis Magazine, February 2000, 18-22.

"The Linguist Goes to the Movies," 
New York Stories, Summer 2000, 15-19.

"Take Me Out to the Counterfactual Present Tense," The New York Times Magazine, July 23,  2000, 20-22; reprinted in The International Herald Tribune, July 24, 2000, 16; and in Subjects/Strategies: A Writer's Reader, ed. Paul Eschholz and Alfred Rosa (Bedford/St. Martin's, 9th ed., 2002), 480-482.

"Unplanned Freefall?  Some Survival Tips," 
Modern Humorist, March 15, 2001; republished in 3 Quarks Daily, The Free Fall Research Page, ed. Jim Hamilton, and Falling: Amazing Survival Stories, Jim Hamilton (Green Harbor Publications, 2024).

"Congratulations, Valetudinarian!", Poets & Writers, May/June, 2003, 31-33; reprinted in The Vocabula Review, Sept. 2003.

"Passing Through,"
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 8, 2003, F3; reprinted in Under the Arch: St. Louis Stories, ed. Paul Thiel (Antares Press, 2004), 227-233. 


"Field Notes from the Playroom Floor," in Toddler, ed. Jennifer Margulis (Seal Press, 2003), 113-117; reprinted in Not Your Mother's Book on Parenting (Publishing Syndicate, 2013), 33-37.

"How to Lie to Your Parents," in 
I Wanna Be Sedated: 30 Writers on Parenting Teenagers, ed. Faith Conlon and Gail Hudson (Seal Press, 2005), 53-58.

"I Killed Jacques De Molay," 
River Styx, 69/70 (2005), 125-134.

"Mountain Boy Meets Plato," 
River Styx, 71 (2005), 6-15.

"Mark Twain," in 
Literary Genius, ed. Joseph Epstein (Paul Dry Books, 2007), 163-170.

"I Am a 16th-Generation Vermonter," 
Seven Days, 16:17 (December 22-29, 2010), 26-27.

"The Mental Slips I Just Can't Ignore," Salon, March 24, 2011.

"The Crap in My Head," The Morning News, July 28, 2011. 

"I'm Not Superstitious," Walrus Publishing, August 26, 2011.

"Welcome Guests in Wartime Vermont: Carl Zuckmayer and 'Backwoods Farm,'" Vermont Magazine, 24:1 (Jan./Feb. 2012), 50-52.

"How the Mississippi River Made Mark Twain--and Vice Versa," Smithsonian, April 2014, 74-90.

"A Report on Susan Bailey's Ancestry,", February 2016.

"When You Say 'Bite Me' to a Solicitation," Points in Case, October 9, 2021.

"What I Learned in Film School," Slackjaw, Nov. 26, 2022.

"Angry Young Linguist," North Dakota Quarterly, 91:1/2, Spring/Summer, 2024, 134-141.


"Tylenol Ladies and Their Dumb Husbands," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 13, 1997, B7.

"What Are Those Dancers Really Doing in the Commercials?" 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 13, 1999, B7.

"Has Heather Called You?"
Barre/Montpelier Times Argus, March 31, 2008, A5.

"How to Debate How We Die," Barre/Montpelier Times Argus, June 10, 2012; Manchester Journal, July 11, 2012.

Short Fiction

"Or Go Blind," Wild Fennel, 10 (Sept. 1975), 42-43.

"No Peanut," 
Kansas Quarterly, 11 (Summer 1979), 77-80.

"The Greatest Slump of All Time," 
Carolina Quarterly, 32 (Fall 1980), 7-19; reprinted in Prize Stories 1982: The O. Henry Awards, ed. William Abrahams (Doubleday, 1982), 271-88, and in Bottom of the Ninth, ed. John McNally (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), 88-104.
"Hop on Pop," 
The North American Review, 266 (Sept. 1981), 36-37.

Novels for Young Adults

The Silent Treatment (Harper and Row, 1988).

Quiver River (Harper and Row, 1991).


Campus Sexpot (University of Georgia Press, 2005).

Academic Articles 

"How Critics Write and How Students Write," College English, 37 (Feb. 1976), 599-604.

"Old English Correlatives: An Exercise in Internal Syntactic Reconstruction," 
Glossa, 10:1 (1976), 44-63.

"Understanding Syntactic Errors in Remedial Writing," 
College English, 38 (March 1977), 682-95.

"Aspects of Old English Style," 
Language and Style, 10:3 (1977), 173-89.

"A New Raising Rule" (note), in 
Chicago Linguistic Society Book of Squibs, ed. Samuel E. Fox et al. (Chicago Linguistic Society, 1977), 27-28.

"I Don't Understand This Question," 
Journal of Thought, 14:1 (Jan. 1979), 7-10.

"The Dialects in Huckleberry Finn," American Literature, 51 (Nov. 1979), 315-32; reprinted in The Critical Response to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, ed. Laurie Champion (Greenwood, 1991), 113-125, and in Dictionary of Literary Biography: Huckleberry Finn (Gale, 2008); excerpted in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ed. Thomas Cooley (Norton [Norton Critical Edition, 3rd ed.]), 1999, 319-320. 


"The Source for the Arkansas Gossips in Huckleberry Finn," American Literary Realism, 14 (Spring 1981), 90-92.


"The Art of Adaptation: From Classic Story to 10-Minute Play," Teaching Theatre, 30:3 (January 2019), 36-42.


Editorial Activity

Natural Bridge, Senior Editor, no. 1-5 (1998-2001); Guest Editor, no. 6 (Fall 2001, special prose issue), and General Editor, no. 7 and 8 (2002).

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