I planned to share it on my deathbed, but you can’t wait

We all read badly-written novels. We know they’re bad after the first couple paragraphs, but we keep reading.

We read to the bitter end.


Because not even the worst writing in the world is strong enough to stop the power of story.

This is great news for the worst…


Aging out of love

I love airports.

Thousands of people, and I’m not required to talk to any of them.

I can just watch and listen, unharmed.

I was doing this one time, walking the beige mile and studying hot weirdos, when I passed by an older couple and caught a piece of their…


Or, The Day I Almost Died Of Fame

In graduate school, I lost my teaching assistantship and all my financial support because I didn’t open one effing email.

I don’t remember the effing details, but the school sent out a message to all its grad students, saying something like,

“If you want to keep your teaching assistantship and…


How close am I to lost worlds?

I worked at a little bookstore in Louisiana during college, a store famous for the cats who roamed freely up and down the aisles, using their tails to touch customers, delivering blessings and curses.


For the love of monsters

At our family Christmas party, which takes place in a big, rented room, there are rules for the many children:

  1. No running.
  2. No screaming.
  3. No combat.
  4. No fun.

To give the kids something to do, kind souls always bring drawing paper and markers.

And I always smuggle these supplies to…


I tried to make the people laugh but made them cry instead

I love grim humor.

I get this, in part, from my grandfather.

All my life, he’s greeted me by driving his fingertips into my chest and saying, “Rip your heart right out!”

I don’t think he’s ever said, “Hi there,” or “Hello, Dan,” or “Greetings, grandson,” like normal grampas.



But it’s time for new fuel

My English 101 class ended Friday, and I couldn’t help but offer essential life advice before releasing them.


One: Romantic relationships in college are based on fear. Break up with your current lover right after New Year’s Eve.

Statistically speaking, you’ll be tempted to end your relationship on Christmas…


My buddy Phil and his rage problem

My brother’s best friend had a little brother named Phil, and since my middle name is Philip, it occurred to someone that Phil and I should be friends.

People love matchmaking, and I understand why. Relationships are as close as human beings can get to wielding magic.

Take you for…


Though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing

Why did I seek the woodpile that day?

I went to the woodpile because I wished to climb the pallet holding back thousands of pounds of stacked firewood. I wished to rock my little body backwards, pulling on the pallet, jolting it again and again.

I remember exactly what was…


It was either diaper up or do what I did

In college, I lived in what my family called the “college apartment,” a room above the attached garage. There was no bathroom, so when a fierce pee-need struck in the dead of night, I had to wander all the way to the bathroom in the house, a journey that scared…

Daniel Williams

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.

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