“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

- Thomas Mann

A generalist by nature and training, Sandy Asirvatham has reported on dozens of subjects and has had the privilege to interview all sorts of people, from political activists to landscape architects to Shakespearean actors, best selling novelists to corporate bankers, death row convicts to members of the Kennedy clan. In the late 1980s through early 2000s she wrote for countless publications, including TimeOut New York, US Weekly, Poets & Writers Magazine, and Baltimore CityPaper (where she won awards, kudos, and occasionally nasty reader letters for her biweekly column called “Underwhelmed”). In an extended moment of professional curiosity and whimsy, she also produced seven short nonfiction books (histories and biographies) for the young adult publisher Chelsea House, including a history of jazz and a history of the blues.

“Sheath,” a short story in Berkeley Fiction Review

“Shadow of a Doubt,” feature about Maryland’s death row in Baltimore City Paper

Underwhelmed column (Baltimore CityPaper) for September 11, 2002 "Unforgettable" 

Underwhelmed column (Baltimore CityPaper) for November 13, 2002 "Fakebook"

Between the barbell and me (September 2020) 

I was a slow, scrawny, easily winded kid, but I discovered my inner athlete in my 40s. I’d spent decades at gyms doing a bit of random “cardio” or taking a fake, scripted, trademarked dance class, and using the shiny circuit machines for something called toning--a bullshit marketing concept catered to women’s irrational fear of building muscle fiber and “bulking up.” (In reality, significant visible muscle growth is a difficult achievement, even for mesomorphs with high testosterone using obsessive…

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Con Man V. Confidence (August 2020) 

I avidly read Mary Trump’s memoir the day it was released. I still crave insider confirmation of the obvious emotional chaos we observe from the outside, hourly and daily, via the news and Twitter. 

(Yes, this is a musician’s newsletter, not a political blog, but if you disagree with me on the basic fact that Trump is a total disaster as a human being, let alone as president, please unsubscribe.) 

I also have a writer's preoccupation with how dysfunctional families operate, especially when money and power…

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