Somewhere in the Pacific ocean, a whale of unprecedented size is swimming around and calling out to other whales, with no response. This is the “52 Blue” whale, subject of worldwide devotion and fascination and a beautiful new essay on being alone from Leslie Jamison....more
Posts by: Sarah Edwards
Scenario: you are on the train, you are sitting across from a man in a baseball cap reading, say, White Teeth, and in a matter of seconds you’ve visualized an entire literary life with him (the next stop, he gets off, and that future crumbles)....more
Memoirist (and former editor-at-large of McSweeney’s) Sean Wilsey talks to The Atlantic about his essay collection, More Curious, and why humor writing resonates:
I think there’s something dishonest about writing that isn’t funny. I can’t engage with a piece of work without an element of humor to it.
The CLMP blog interviews the staff of literary magazine, A Public Space, for a nice, succinct take on what it’s like to be a contemporary lit editor. Contains: public confusion on the term “a public space”, answers to the age-old “is social media destroying everything?” question, and alternate career aspirations of the staff....more
A bright spot in the midst of all the back-and-forth in the Amazon battle—Kate Brittain, at The Morning News, writes about the state of independent bookstores:
I began my search in a nervous mood. But as I entered name after name into the database, wandering virtually into every store I could discover between our shining seas, I ceased, slowly, to worry.
As soon as Ashley came down the stairs from the subway, which rattles across a bridge over Brighton Beach Avenue, it all came tumbling out: who he really was and that he was married. Every time a train passed overhead it drowned out what he was saying and he would have start over.
Alexander Nazaryan’s Newsweek essay about John Cheever’s home (for sale, in Ossining) is more than a real estate ad; it’s a beautiful homage to the suburbanite writer. Upon touring the house with Susan, Cheever’s daughter, Nazaryan writes:
I kept asking the one question obviously worth asking—What was it like here?
Do aliens, once in love, ever break up? You’d have to hope so. It would be kind of creepy, all these aliens living monogamously to like age 9,000, making love in that slow, telepathic way they have. And afterward, they do that “brain meld” thing and put their “teeth” back in.
How can writers get a room of their own, literally or figuratively? In Away, an essay in the summer issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review, Roxana Robinson writes about carving out private space in the midst of being over-saturated by the world around you:
You can call it a blessing, I suppose: You’re never bored.
When you read Roger Angell, you can (it’s cheesy, but true!) smell clover and hear the crack of a baseball against a baseball bat. Angell is synonymous with baseball writing, and this week, he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame....more
Dan Piepenbring writes at the Paris Review about the universe inside industrial-supply catalogs, which offer a different kind of poetry to readers:
And so I often reach for it in pursuit of a kind of materialist awe. It makes for a reading experience more engaging, imaginative, and informative than almost anything that passes as literature.
A heart, the source of empathy, or at least what we use as a visual for love, was an initial starting point. As a nod to the medical part of the essay, a graphic illustration of a heart is used.
Kimberly Glyder was responsible for designing the cover of Leslie Jamison‘s essay collection, The Empathy Exams....more
The Morning Review is doing a series of restaurant reviews by writers which isn’t exactly a series of restaurant reviews. This is exactly the criteria: “1) it is a restaurant review; 2) it is not a restaurant review.” The first essay in the series is by our own Roxanne Gay, and is about a restaurant named Radio Maria, where the sangria is excellent and the women wear heels....more
Interactive digital storytelling: fiction’s next frontier? In the New York Times, Chris Suellentrop examines interactive technologies as used in Blood & Laurels, by Emily Short:
Exploring those possibilities is one reason Ms. Short became a writer of interactive fiction rather than of more conventional stories.
If a novel depicted house sitters’ lives, its scenes would depict the complex relationship between the homeowner and sitter, the way trust is built between strangers in such an intimate setting as a home: how house keys are swapped, free food is provided or withheld.
Elevators, that common denominator of human anxiety, have a long history. David Trotter reviews Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator by Andreas Bernard:
That’s what elevator protocol is for. Or so we might gather from the very large number of scenes set in lifts in movies from the 1930s onwards.
The distinct quietness of Wallace Stevens’s life—modernist, insurance salesman, writer of The Emperor of Ice Cream—is almost as famous as his poetry. Now! His 1920s Colonial home is for sale in Hartford, CT. If you’re looking for a spacious new house to raise a family in, or have a vested interest in historical preservation, maybe you should buy it....more
Before life on the iPad keypad there was life on the QWERTY computer keypad, and before that, the architecture of the typewriter. Dan Piepenbring reports on the history of the typewriter which was, ah yes, “rife with collaboration, ingenuity, betrayal, setbacks, lucre, acrimony, misguided experimentation, and bickering white men.”...more
Is there, perhaps, something in your life which begs applause? Or maybe you want to help break a world record, or affirm strangers, or do you just like clapping? Rumpus contributor Dustin Luke Nelson is putting on two hours of unbroken applause at the Walker Art Center’s Open Field in Minneapolis on Thursday (6/26) from 5:30-7:30....more