John Cameron Mitchell’s Anthem Homunculus, Continued

You will find spoilers here. And some chaos. Depending on your preferences, you might not want to read this until you’ve finished Anthem Homunculus, John Cameron Mitchell’s musical dystopian drama full of heart, delivered via podcast, like an old radio play. I interviewed Mitchell for a piece in Psychology Today, about brain stuff at the […]

What Is Somatics? Interview with Sumitra Rajkumar

Over on my Psychology Today column–The Elusive Brain–I promised a follow-up on my column about somatics and trauma. Readers had lots of questions. This is Part 1 of my interview with somatics practitioner Sumitra Rajkumar. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we get nitty and gritty. As a practitioner, how do you describe somatics to somebody […]

Gerald Edelman Scans My Brain: A Fantasy

  Sometimes when I write, the combo of daydreamy thinking and poking at a keyboard conjures fantasies I never knew I had. That happened a lot when I was writing The One You Get. That’s partly why I wrote an eight-hundred page draft–five-hundred pages too many. A lot of the fantasies got cut. Sometimes I […]

Nanny, Who Was Also Midge, Who Was Also Jessie Magdalene

  Jessie Magdalene MacDonnell April 13, 1922 – October 1998 The MacDonnell house is average in size for Nova Scotia. Its two stories are chopped into six tiny bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and sitting room—a tight fit for Daniel, Bridget, and their thirteen children. Even the cliff on which the house teeters and the jagged […]

Bowie’s Duet with Himself

I made my first infographic. Or a stab at one. My students are making some, so I thought I should try it too. My students didn’t know Bowie’s “A Space Oddity.” I tried to hide my shock. But now they know a lot about it. Bowie recorded “A Space Oddity”  in 1968. It was his […]

A couple of quick announcements: There’s a giveaway in effect for The One You Get. If you enter, you have a chance to win a free copy. Everybody’s favorite online behemoth bookseller is also offering a discount. Also, this really nice review of The Elusive Brain is just out, in Choice magazine: The elusive brain […]


I have a new column on, The Elusive Brain: Literature and Culture in the Age of Neuroscience. I’ll be writing about what literary writers contribute to conversations about the brain, mind, psychology, consciousness, and mental health. I’m pretty excited about it.

Jimsom Weed

My mom and her friend Voly, eighteen to her sixteen, got a recipe for jimson weed tea from this guru beach bum named Al. “He just got out of the loony bin,” Voly whispered to Cathy. My mom has always hung out with guys more than girls. She just gets along with them. “The stuff […]

A Couple of Announcements

My essay about my enduring crush on the life and writing of Christopher Isherwood is out today on Literary Hub. My book The Elusive Brain is out now, with Yale University Press. “A remarkably sane book. Tougaw’s analyses show a supple and adroit mind at work.” —N. Katherine Hayles, author of Unthought: The Power of the […]

Top Ten Family Deaths–Real, Near, and Imagined

10. 1959. Thirty years into his career as a notoriously reckless jockey, my grandpa, Ralph Neves, survives a severe brain injury, his life saved by surgery and a metal plate where a portion of his skull used to be. This is his third near-death experience. 9. 1922. Nanny—Midge to her friends—was born Jessie Magdalena MacDonnell, in Nova […]

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