My sister used to accuse me of intellectualizing mental illness when I spoke of our brother’s brain, his schizophrenia, in scientific terms... I never knew how to explain what I felt—that science could be a way of loving something more deeply....more
Everywhere people are shoving things into the ground—time capsules not to be opened until the year 2100, the more optimistic postmarked for 3000—letters to the future in the language of the now. ...more
In the first of a two-part series at the Public Domain Review, Lily Ford uses 18th century illustrations and drawings from balloonists to capture the changes in science and society brought by the first people to see the world from the sky.
The response to [the Handmaid’s Tale] was interesting. The English, who had already had their religious civil war, said, “Jolly good yarn.” The Canadians in their nervous way, said, “Could it happen here?” And the Americans said, “How long have we got?”
For Lit Hub, Grant Munroe interviews Margaret Atwood on seemingly everything, touching on the Salem witch trials, Donald Trump, Canada as a place of refuge, and some of her million projects: Hag-seed, her adaptation of The Tempest; her graphic novel Angel Catbird; and the forthcoming Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, among others.
For Hyperallergic, Allison Meier covers design ideas for nuclear waste warning signs, with scientists and artists around the world attempting to design warning signs that would deter humans 10,000 (or even 100,000) years in the future from digging up our buried nuclear waste.
REMINDER: The first-ever Rumpus LO-FI Film Festival is this Saturday, 7/30! A one-day event at the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles, the festival will screen three films, in addition to the world premiere of AfterAdderall and two awesome panel discussions. If you haven’t already purchased tickets, what are you waiting for?!
First, in the Saturday Interview, Tyrese L. Coleman talks with author Leslie Pietrzyk about her award-winning 2015 collection, This Angel On My Chest, and its relationship with real life events. The author explains her approach to writing about personal tragedy, which is “to write the ‘true’ things until the truth wasn’t as interesting as what I could make up.”
Finally, Jennifer Fliss recalls the pain of childbirth against the backdrop of a particular setting, the so-called Rust Belt, in the Sunday Essay. The author juxtaposes the urgency and confusion of labor with the “plaid carpets” and “Star Wars relics” of midwestern homes and the unique “patina” of rust. Fliss writes, “If you get really close up, rust can be beautiful. Fissures create abstract shapes and symmetries… Streaks and splotches and cracked paint. None of it is perfect and that’s the beauty.”
At Electric Literature, an anonymous writer shares her personal experience with a creative writing classmate who plagiarized other poets. The writer poses the question of when writing crosses the boundary between respectful mimicry and plagiarism:
When have I changed [a poem] enough that the poem is now in my possession, my creative and intellectual property? One of my students recently noted, “You can do anything in poetry, can’t you?” I answered yes, but qualified the statement: “As long as you don’t appropriate without acknowledgment.” Certainly, there are ways to acknowledge, maybe include a footnote or put beneath the title:”‘after [insert poet’s name].” What is the best way to do this? What are the rules exactly? Where is “the line?”
A novel wants to befriend you, a short story almost never.
Over at VICE, Lincoln Michel nabbed the elusive and brilliant Joy Williams for an interview about her newest short story collection, ninety-nine stories of God. Her answers are wonderful in their minimalist nature, and for lovers of lists she even included “8 Essential Attributes of the Short Story (and one way it differs from a novel).”
Tuesday 7/26: Don’t miss 2014 Minnesota Book Award winner, Sean Hill, reading new work at Augsburg College. The reading takes place on campus, in the Foss Center chapel. 7 p.m., free.
Wednesday 7/27: Rain Taxi presents Salman Rushdie reading from his newest novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (Random House), at Macalester College. This is a ticketed event. Advance tickets are $20, and each ticket purchase includes a signed copy of the novel. 7 p.m.
Flannel hid the shape of a woman, yet it revealed as we pushed our breasts against its grid; it protected us from scrutiny. Inside flannel’s soft tent, I could pause and breathe. Days in flannel were the days in which my body would not be sized up nor my energy drained in appeasing responses to flirting and banter. Flannel did not save me, but it stayed with me as a reminder: claiming my own space was possible.
Pop culture has been a steadfast element of public life for a while, but it feels like lately there’s even more pressure to keep up with a certain caché of writers, movies, TV shows, artists, and events. At The Hairpin, Rosa Lyster turns this impulse on its head and gives us an out with the Žižek game:
This is the beating heart of the Žižek Game: the disbelief that something you care about has failed to register on the consciousness of another. The agony of suspecting that someone has looked at Slavoj Žižek’s Wikipedia page and thought “I do not need to know about this man.”
India Arie has released her first single since 2013, a hymn titled “Breathe.” As one writer put it, the track “serves as a guiding mantra, a means of dialing back the hurt and frustration that flooded the collective consciousness of the world in these trying weeks and shows us how to process, how to simply ‘Breathe.’” Watch the song’s video after the jump. (more…)
The summer issue of Asymptote was published this week with a gorgeous spread of short fiction in translation from Spanish, Croatian, Persian, and more. If you’re not already familiar the journal, it publishes English translations of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and more from across the globe (the website cites 105 countries and 84 languages so far) alongside the original text and often accompanied by audio of the author or translator reading an excerpt in the original language, making it a treasure trove for language nerds and literature lovers alike. Asymptote’s summer issue features a short story by Pedro Novoa, an award-winning author in his native Peru, which is translated not only into English but fourteen other languages from Albanian to Tamil, as well.
Novoa’s “The Dive” (original Spanish title “Inmersión”), translated to English by George Henson, is a brief story of just under 1,000 words that carries a big emotional punch as it tells of a family’s intergenerational efforts to save a dying son through science and, when science fails, mystical family lore. (more…)