Birth, death. We live in the middle. “What’s it like?” Lee asks. “Is it a door, and goodbye on either side?” Just like the stars, one day we all collapse, our mass and light and energy exploding into nothingness....more
I thought that hearts were meant to function as uteri, / to grow linings that bleed clotty when life won’t adhere, / to stall like rusty engines in barren winters, / unprepared for the seasonal shift....more
Poverty may have been beloved of St. Francis, but not so much by the rest of us. Nobody likes to look at advanced poverty, toothless and drooling, clutching the hands of children who have running sores on their filthy legs. Poverty is a crackhead who pisses on the pavement, and sleeps with fleas and stray dogs. Poverty covers smelly feet in ratty shoes. Poverty is disgusting.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the Judeo-Christian tradition is the suggestion that God prefers the poor. If we take that seriously, it seems that God has questionable taste. (more…)
Friday 3/24: The Conversation series at Women & Children First continues with this week’s theme, On Being American: Identity & Belonging Under a Hostile Regime. This edition will feature Boris Fishman, Cristina Henriquez, Erika L. Sanchez, the artist Riva Lehrer, and Zoe Zolbrod. 7:30 p.m., free (donations to local nonprofits encouraged).
This week, a woman mysteriously becomes pregnant with a lizard egg in a short story at Guernica that is weird, funny, and surprisingly sweet. By Benjamin Schaefer, Prose Editor of Fairy Tale Review, “Lizard-Baby” explores themes of motherhood, difference, and community, and all through the fresh new lens of immaculate lizard-birth.
Last year, while on vacation in New Mexico, I went on a vision quest with a South American shaman, met the Devil, and came home pregnant. Mother keeps saying, Sins of the father, but I’m trying my best to remain optimistic.
The story jumps right in, never questioning the provenance of the lizard-baby or the mechanics of conception, with the kind of storytelling confidence and nonchalance that defines the best weird fictions. (more…)
Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, Chris Tusa’s second novel, In the City of Falling Stars(Livingston Press, September 2016), tells a tale of paranoia and intrigue. Maurice Delahoussaye witnesses dead birds falling from the sky, and becomes convinced the air is toxic. With equal parts humor and depravity, the novel chronicles a fractured family amidst a crumbling city and examines the withering psyche of a man prone to obsession. Of Maurice’s mental state, the author writes:
I’m a soldier, Maurice thought, a soldier of the Lord. As he stood there, a frenzy of static-filled visions flashed in the back of his brain—a glowing heart tangled in flames and thorns, stars falling from the sky like rain, the black cries of a baby mingled with a melee of bloody screams— all swarming around in his brain like a crackling burst of signals bouncing off a satellite dish. He took another swig of Maalox, imagining the ulcers bleeding in his gut, his insides sacred and glowing.
I spoke with Tusa in person in late October about how he approached writing about Hurricane Katrina, what makes mentally unstable characters so compelling, and using humor in unique ways. (more…)
Welcome to This Week in Trumplandia. Check in with us every Thursday for a weekly roundup of the most pertinent content on our country, which is currently spiraling down a crappy toilet drain. You owe it to yourself, your community, and your humanity to contribute whatever you can, even if it is just awareness of the truth.
The 2017 Whiting Award winners were announced today. The award gives ten emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry a significant cash infusion ($50,000). Previous award winners include Jeffrey Eugenides, David Foster Wallace, Denis Johnson, Mary Karr, and Elif Batuman. For this edition of This Week in Essays, we are linking to work by the 2017 award winners. Congratulations to each of them! (more…)