Liu Xia’s burden has become too heavy. Her heart is beginning to fail. In isolation, she can only stare at a tree through her window, a tree that a bird can only dwell on:
Is it a tree?
It’s me, alone.
Posts Tagged: Tin House
Earlier this month, Steven Millhauser released Voices in the Night, a new collection of short stories. On Tuesday, the Boston Globe described the towns of many of the stories in this newest effort as “Millhauserian,” which Eugenia Williamson defines as places where “characters must process their encounters with the uncanny without breaking their rose-colored glasses.”
Such is the case in Millhauser’s “Sons and Mothers,” which first appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Tin House....more
It’s that time of year again, where writers young and old, from all corners of the country, come to congregate in one gigantic, frenetic, neurotic, alcohol-infused crowd, in a couple of fancy hotels no one can really afford, to stay in and talk shop (or not, depending on how your writing’s been this year)....more
Chalk it up to a week where Twitter just felt like too much. Chalk it up to good ol’ nostalgia for the feel of a hefty book in your hands. Or maybe, just chalk it up to an aligning of stars that placed nine exceptional writers under the same roof....more
For all her artistic clout, critics continue to dismiss Miranda July as “cutesy” and “twee,” labels that reflect an inability to distinguish between her work and her persona. Over at Guernica, Tin House editor Rob Spillman argues in defense of whimsy:
Part of the reason that some find July’s literary success so galling is that she is not simply a novelist; she is “Miranda July” a continuingly evolving conceptual art project, as well as the writer, director, and star of two movies.
It’s only February, but 2015 is already proving to be a treasure trove of big happenings in the world of short stories. Take this past Tuesday, when Kelly Link, Charles Baxter, and Neil Gaiman all released new collections, undoubtedly making the world a few orders of magnitude weirder, smarter, and spookier....more
For the Tin House blog, Heather Hartley spends the holiday season perusing letters between T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx. Through their love of “good cigars” and a “weakness for making puns,” Eliot and Marx show a humorous affection that inspires Hartley to do some letter writing of her own....more
As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person....more
Always first aware not of the naked feeling itself but of the best way to phrase the feeling so as to avoid verbal repetition, you come to think of emotions as belonging to other people, being the world’s happy property and not yours—not really yours except by way of disingenuous circumlocution.
For me, the act of writing is all about getting rid of self-criticism, and at the same time I have an almost religious belief in literature. These two kingdoms are impossible to unite. So what I do, apparently, is try to write great literature for four or five years, until the level of frustration becomes so high that it starts to tear down the wall between me and my text, or, differently put: I start not to care.
They talk about cohesion in short-story collections, faraway settings, and van den Berg’s collection of ceramic Loch Ness monsters. A preview:
…the women I write about are often seduced by the ugliness and the danger, by the violence or the promise of it—and they often end up paying a steep price for that seduction, in that moment where the promise of violence falls away and the bare, brutal reality of it appears.
Lucy Corin is on a roll. Her book, One Hundred Apocalypses And Other Apcoalypses is making the rounds and with 103 stories it has a long time to go before people are done talking about it. Check out this interview with Lucy from Tin House:
SJ: To go back to that idea of “owning where you’re standing”—what did that look like in writing the collection of apocalypses, which range pretty widely in terms of point-of-view, and voice, and relationship to character?
“All stories are inherently suspect. You know that old, dumb crafty term: Reliable narrator? Show me a truly reliable narrator…Does one exist? Tom Brokaw? We’re all unreliable all the time. And I think storytellers should always go too far. In the story “Spokane” —as you say—Stacy goes too far, and still Barry buys it.
The new media landscape might tear writing as we know it apart—or it might give us opportunities to find thrilling new niches.
Tomorrow night in NYC, join writers and editors from Columbia University, Tin House, and more to hear how they’ve “carved out a new media approach to old school storytelling,” and how you, too, can “find your niche.”
See their Facebook event page for more details....more
We reached out to several of the worst offenders to ask where they thought they had gone wrong…but got very little in the way of responses. So we decided, instead, to reach out to the editors of the publications that actually had managed to show a relatively gender-equitable byline distribution in 2012.
For whatever reason, this austere paper system works better for me than others, which says more about how my mind works than it does about Excel spreadsheets. Maybe I’m projecting, but no matter your system, if you’re a submitter, two things are essential: order and efficiency.
The second installment of “Super Sad True Habits of Highly Effective Writers” features a number of our friends, including contributor Chloe Caldwell, and Adam Levin, whose novel The Instructions was a Rumpus Book Club selection.
Here’s Nick Flynn on his pre-writing ritual:
“Before I sit down, I need time to wander in the unknown for awhile, either psychically or physically, somewhat aimlessly, yet in a state of awareness, allowing seeming distractions to build up some energy, maybe around an image or idea or sound, until something reveals itself: a pattern, an echo, something that resonates with whatever it is I think I’m supposed to be working on.”...more
“From the Greek ek-stasis, it means “standing outside of,” as in separation from the common, or, in the Hellenic religious understanding, a hiatus from cognition in celebration of the visceral and mystical.”
Interpreting Euripedes’ The Bacchae as “a masterful homage to the necessity of ecstasy,” William Giraldi dives into the evolving meaning of ecstasy, and its centrality in the realms of religions, music, dance, and literature....more
Remember when R. Crumb blew our minds and our concept of dedication with his thorough illustration of the Bible?
That project sounded physically and emotionally exhausting. Still, he must have started a trend because artist, Matt Kish, is creating an image for every page of the epic novel, Moby Dick....more
From our Pacific Northwesterly neighbors, a new Tin House podcast featuring Steve Almond for your enjoyment.
Steve Almond provides a lecture from last summer’s Writer’s Workshop, “Everything They Told You in MFA School Was Wrong, Except For The Debt.” He poses questions like, “What is writing?” It’s not “making shit up” but “decision-making.” There’s humor, there’s sarcasm, strong opinions and poignant life-lessons, true to Almond form....more