A True Story of Frog-Gigging and Disappointment

Frog Gig on Stick

I wrote the following piece for a memoir class taught by Michelle Wildgen, best-selling author of Bread and Butter and You’re Not You (soon to be a movie starring Hilary Swank). When I was a kid growing up in rural Tennessee, my dad determined that I would follow in his footsteps and leave a trail of dead small animals behind … Read More

Introducing the Siren


As some of you may know, last year my wife’s sister was tragically killed in a car accident. She left behind a little girl, now twenty months old, whom we have adopted, thus adding a fifth member to Team Pipsoe. So, friends and fans, I’d like you to meet my daughter, Amelia. When I talk about my kids online, I … Read More

Review: My Old True Love by Sheila Kay Adams

Writing prose about music is, to borrow an analogy, dangerously close to trying to teach a fish to ride a bicycle. If you could say it in regular words, there’d be no need to sing it. And music can do some things far more efficiently than any other art form. For example, it takes over seven hours to tell the … Read More

The Blurring of Lines

The C-in-C back when we were full-time co-workers.

Recently, while reading the Janet Sternburg-edited collection The Writer on Her Work, I had an unexpected epiphany (I know, epiphanies are always unexpected, but work with me). It was the realization that my life in 2012 is almost exactly Anne Tyler’s in 1980.   Tyler, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Breathing Lessons and The Accidental Tourist, contributed the book’s first … Read More

The Dickens, I Say

The first edition of Dickens' masterpiece

The most famous Christmas story, besides the Biblical one, is without a doubt A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens distilled the holiday spirit down to its essence with his tale of the miserly Scrooge who reforms his ways just in time for Christmas dinner. I love reading the actual story at Christmas, and watching my favorite* film version: [media url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbaa-T5wSE8″] Yet … Read More

The Ubiquitous Daddy Issues Club

At my Christening, 1963. My dad's in the middle. I'm the short one.

Recently I mentioned to author Patrick Somerville (This Bright River) that Dean Bakopoulos’s first book, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, resonated with me because I have unresolved issues with my own late father. Patrick said, “Yeah, like every other writer.” It wasn’t mockery: he was saying, in essence, “Welcome to a club of which you were already a … Read More

Writers and the Throne


It’s a well-known maxim that creative types, for the most part, get no respect from their families. Even Jesus knew this, saying (according to King James), “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house” (and no, I’m not comparing myself to Jesus). Thankfully, in my own house … Read More

Rant: the Penn State Penalties


I’ve been following the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case since it broke. The Freeh report, which explicitly blamed Sandusky’s continued ability to molest children on the deliberate actions of those in power at Penn State, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno (arguably the most powerful man on campus), led to unprecedented penalties against the university and its football program. And … Read More

5 Things Not to Say to a Writer’s Wife

Valette with the C-in-C and the Squirrel Boy

I’ve written many times, on this and other blogs, about the challenges of being a full-time writer and stay-at-home parent. I’ve alluded to the difficulty of living with someone like me, but of course I can never truly know what it’s like. My wife, however, knows exactly what living with a writer is like, and in this post she talks … Read More