Additional Selections from This Issue
My family and I moved from North Carolina to Tennessee and into a world of confusing adolescent needs and expectation. The prepubescent eleven-year-old girls I left were still trying to decide whether it was time to wear deodorant. Here, in a suburb of Memphis, the girls were already shaving their legs and priming and concealing, risking the tender parts of their necks to create corkscrews that framed their faces.continue reading >
Friday is Gail’s third day squatting the grounds at Congo Golf & Go-Cart, and I’m pretty sure Mr. Brice will have her arrested when he gets back on Monday. At first, I figured Gail was one of those high-end bag ladies—the broke-but-not-starving kind—but she never asks for money or food. She says she won’t leave until she finds the hidden jewels, and if we park employees have to have her arrested, go right ahead. Gail. One of those sturdy, older-person names.continue reading >
Eric LeMay: An essay doesn’t come to life until it reaches its readers. This moment—when the reader charges the writing with his or her intelligence, memories, cares, biases, quirks—is so fundamental to the experience of reading and writing, we usually accept it as a given, a fundament, and we build on it, but an electronic essay can let us rethink that moment: how else might a reader bring this essay to life?continue reading >
Rutschman: I’m interested in awakening, which means I’m interested in delusion. Or, I’m interested in intimacy, which means I’m interested in distance. I’m interested in kindness, which means I’m interested in its absence.
I don’t think I write bad behavior for its own sake, or to titillate or shock. I’m genuinely, deeply committed to exploring our capacities—all of us—for blindness and cruelty, and for presence and warmth, and I don’t think we can actually study one side without studying the other.continue reading >
The other side of blame is not causality. Banting, your actions have hurt no one and someone in the following ways: of a rented room in Ontario (single bed, $1 patent for insulin, floral funeral parlor carpet), of the first months in the lab (bloody apron, spectacles, heat wave); who’s counting how many more if it’s only the next one?continue reading >
Verbal Binary Presence in Early Childhood Development, that Infamously Difficult Poetic Form the Villanelle, and the Spiritual Quotidian
In the womb it’s neither no nor yes.
You do, however, gather physical strength. You are, however, unprepared for the binary presence that awaits you on the shores of the amniotic sea in which you swim.continue reading >
All art that is worth anything is connected to courage and truthfulness, to cracking illusions, and to emotional stamina. But much is explicitly made of the personal risk-taking of creative nonfiction and memoir.continue reading >
Sometimes I think I was missing Kenny before I met him. He was always ready to get going, stay gone. It’s as if my natural state is missing, and he came along and said, “Yes.” Always that space between us. Our first kiss a fissure. The Eagle River and the moon an erosion. The back porch all those nights a split-trail to distance. When I slept beside him, I’d stumble down a jagged trail, a canyon. I settled into where he unsettled me.continue reading >
Our trips to the city were powered by a current of danger, of our vulnerability to the electricity that throbbed invisibly in the tracks, of the need to walk in haste to avoid strange men yelling at you. Walking behind my father in Philadelphia was like sitting in the train car during those moments when you go underground before the lights come on. He carried me on his heels for a ride through streets I didn’t know. I watched his torso shift and his arms swing in front of me. He was my father, and I followed him.continue reading >
. . . I have almost no belief in myself as a writer. It’s just not there. I know it’s supposed to be, and that many hold the notion that you can’t write (or paint or make excellent snow cones) if you don’t have faith in your abilities. But again, away from the act of writing, I don’t see myself as anything special. And it’s not that I see myself as special while I write—more that I don’t see myself at all. There is a disappearance into the act, into the desire or need to speak, that erases—I mean, completely obliterates— the doubts and personal bullshit that tools around with me. Doing becomes being. Plain and simple, or fancy and I guess not so. And because of this, I begin most days having quieted my most cannibalistic tendencies. So yeah—give me that gift every day and I’ll treat it with respect and humility. And I give it all the coffee it wants.
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1. Advice Upon Waking All day your head will be filled with someone else’s jangle. Don’t give away this precious hour, too. Move through it with the soft-focus eyes of an infant who wakens and scanscontinue reading >
Years ago an invading army built a bridge across the Tigris out of Iraqi books. They turned the river red with ink. When I retire, I’ll take what I learned in the military and dump it in the river. –continue reading >
First, make sure to wear hand-woven Guatemalan socks and for god's sakes don't forget to take your shoes off at the door. Also, to blend in, wear a gnarled, oversized sweater, don't combcontinue reading >
A woman on the left arcs her back, arms in the air, hands in her hair, purple flowers vining over her shoulder and between her breasts. Shading her is a tree of red and orange and mustard,continue reading >
Come back with what’s left of the light giving you / an earful, with the gray dusk of the one maple left that you / didn’t have to have cut down, with a few of those solid crows / with their nudgecontinue reading >
The reason behind this breed’s mid-air acrobatics / splits its admirers: evasion evolution or neural defect? / . . . though they agree on the sanctity / of that tight, feathered backspin. / Whatevercontinue reading >
The blue comes down this way, deliberate, / a light fractured by birds, clouds / on their way, the feel of far-off rain. / In the foreground a boat still in pencil.continue reading >
Just Because There’s a Roof Over Your Head Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Floating Upside Down by Robert Rice
I remember it like this: I was twelve and we were at Arlee Piero’s funeral sitting in a pew near the front of the church when Uncle Harry glanced around at the crowd—the service was starting and the ccontinue reading >