John Brizzolara

John Brizzolara
Born in Chicago on December 11, 1950, Brizzolara was a writer since childhood. At age 29, he sold his first two short stories to Weird Tales. His writing appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Whispers, Weirdbook, and Twilight Zone Magazine. His short fiction has been translated to German, Russian, and Japanese.

In 1987 he published his first novel, Wirecutter, followed by the science-fiction novel Empire's Horizon in 1989. Thunder Moon, a sequel to Wirecutter, soon followed. In 1997 he won the National Conference Media Award for Journalism for a San Diego Magazine story on hate crimes. He reviewed numerous books for the Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. He also wrote for the Chicago Reader, Pages, and San Diego Home Garden & Lifestyle. Brizzolara wrote for the Reader from 1989 to 2013, including a weekly column, TGIF.

John died in his sleep at Father Joe’s Villages on October 11, 2016. He was 65. Brizzolara wrote about his struggles with alcoholism and other ailments to which he succumbed.

Samples of his notable essays can be found in our From the Archives series. Other notable stories include:

Sadness and Strange Endings (Judith Moore interviews Brizzolara)

Set a Needle on My Heart and Play Those Songs of Love and Pain (author's record collection)

Flesh of My Flesh (unending romance of fatherhood)

My Belly (author's aging body)

Articles by John Brizzolara

Street neighbor: at God's Extended Hand

Doing better here than in Illinois

A man leaning against the façade of God’s Extended Hand at 1625 Island Ave. — a religious soup kitchen — will talk to me. He will not reveal his name but a mutual familiarity with ...

Street neighbor: Down on 13th, the East Village

Todd from Texas, homeless since 17

Todd is camped out with his woman. They, along with another ten or so “campers,” are situated along the wall of the closed business, Central Graphics, on 13th Street. When that business opens, they and ...

Interview: street neighbor in the East Village

Kazakhstan national in San Diego can’t get her daughter back.

East Village along the top of the Market Street hill, just past the Park and Market trolley stop, is a fine place for a memorable date or simply a night out with friends: wine-and-cheese bistros, ...

The Hood

After the sun goes down, the fists and sushi start flying.

San Diego's successful Thrift Trader

Hang on. We must have it somewhere. We've got everything.

Author John Brizzolara interviews thrift-store magnate Jeff Clark.

John Brizzolara’s Last Column

“Hey, brother. Can you give me a clean pee sample?”

This will be the last “TGIF” column. It has been a great 12-year run. Well, mostly. Lord knows there were some turkeys in there over the years, but you can’t hit ’em all out of ...

This Reminds Me of December

It took me years to learn that the books I had sent home were unread and gathering dust.

Associations with December: too many. I will economize on my reflections. My birthday is in December, as is that of my good friend, writer and elementary school teacher Elizabeth Cullen, as well as historical and ...

I call spare change “spange”

I once bought a half-pint of whiskey with a fiver I borrowed from a colleague in a 12-step program.

I am constantly revising my own rules regarding panhandlers. I can’t seem to stick to one policy with any consistency. For a time, my rule was to give some money — never a great amount ...

Gross-Out Contest

So, Thanksgiving. I’m guessing I’ll have my son bunking here, and I don’t know how to roast a turkey. Going out to dinner sounds like unnecessary stress. I’ll see if he will go for a ...