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Think (and Think Some More) Before You Speak

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Notably, there are a few verbal tics that we mistakenly think index insecurity, even though they don’t. These (mostly feminine) quirks—uptalk, vocal fry—are often subtle expressions of power, innovativeness, or upward mobility. In fact, Adam Gopnik recently wrote about how verbal fillers like “um” and “you know” underscore a speaker’s conscientiousness, her sensitivity to the details she must, for reasons of economy, leave unsaid.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Let’s dedicate this week to the publications, editors, and benevolent marketing gurus who unleashed a whole bunch of quality FREE short fiction to us. Under the shadow of the FCC’s impending decision as to whether or not net neutrality will continue, these all-you-can-read buffets taste even sweeter.

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Ray Rice and Domestic Abuse: A Rumpus Roundup

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In February, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his fiancée at Atlantic City’s Revel Casino. He was caught dragging her limp body out of the elevator. They later married.

Domestic violence is so common in the United States—every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted—it rarely makes headlines.

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Ulysses: The Video Game

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The game is currently in the development and crowdfunding stage, but it already looks pretty interesting, even psychedelic. Its title, In Ulysses: Proteus, comes from the chapter of the novel that it tackles. In it, Dedalus wanders across a desolate beach, closes his eyes, and ponders the shifting nature of reality and the disconnect between his inner self and the external world.

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Frankenstein, The Tree with Forty Fruit

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Miraculous, and not a flaming sword near it—Sam Van Aken’s project marries sculpture and agriculture and genetics and a little bit of wonder.

I was able to see the grafting process while growing up on a farm and have always been fascinated by how one living thing cut could be cut inserted into another living thing and continue to grow,” Van Aken explained to HuffPost.

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Third Man’s Language Lessons

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Jack White’s Third Man Records is expanding to include books. August 5th will see the release of Third Man Books‘s first hardcover title, Language Lessons, Volume 1, a 321-page collection of poetry, prose, and art together with 2 vinyl LPs, edited by poet and musician Chet Weise and Third Man’s Ben Swank.

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Song of the Day: “Red Eyes”

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The War On Drugs decided to name themselves after a bitter conflict, but their last album, Lost in the Dream, invokes anything but strife. Though the lyrics of “Red Eyes,” the second track off the record, are inscrutable at times—“Come ride away/ It’s easier to stick to the earth / Surrounded by the night / Surrounded by the night”—the jubilant guitar and synth are joined by the driving percussion to create the sensation of a blissful journey.

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Notable Portland: 7/24–7/30

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Thursday 7/24: Independent publishing house Press 53 welcomes three authors to read from their latest works. Liz Prato reads from her forthcoming collection due in May 2015, Wendy Willis reads from Blood Sisters and the Republic (October 2012), and Bonnie ZoBell reads from What Happened Here (May 2014).

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Goodnight Structure, Goodnight Narrative Form

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The classic children’s book Goodnight Moon is a model example of successful narrative structure, argues Aimee Bender in the New York Times. The story follows enough traditional patterns to be satisfying, but also deviates in new and unique ways:

“Goodnight Moon” does two things right away: It sets up a world and then it subverts its own rules even as it follows them.

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I Am Not My Protagonist

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At Buzzfeed Books, novelist Catherine Lacey writes about an interview she had with a reporter who assumed Lacey had based the protagonist of her first novel on herself. To an extent, Lacey finds this frustrating, but then she considers the way all writers are and are not their characters:

What I should tell anyone who might ask again is that no fiction writer can honestly tell you what parts of her characters are mutations or facsimiles or pure inventions of the self.

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