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Mirror, Mirror: A Guide to Pathos

From our 50th Issue, Crystal Williams navigates our culture’s notions of beauty and race.  Mirror, Mirror: A Guide to Pathos I. I have a friend whose voice changes when he talks about his wife. Each time he says her name, it moves from hard to wispy. Sometimes he whispers, “beautiful,” and it is not awe […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

Comments: 2

Distance

I am eight. The lights of the farm across the road from my home are an archipelago of hovering dots. Moos float disembodied in blackness, startling me. White noise in the dark night. My father works there. The family business, generations old, the farm Upstate. He is inside one of those lights, birthing a calf. […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

Comments: 1

Trains, Planes, and What I Read

When I travel, once I’ve rounded up my documents and stuffed the carry-on to bursting, the last thing I pack is a book. I slip whatever I have chosen between my change of clothes and my blanket, and close the zipper. I appreciate that e-books have, for some people, erased the need to make an […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

Reader, Meet Writer; Writer, Meet Reader

When my book, Our Endless Numbered Days was published I didn’t think I was going to enjoy getting out there and talking to strangers.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 1

Around the Corner

Once, as a child, I almost saw a man kill himself. The boys up at the wall looked down at him as he, weeping, put his head on the tracks. I stood back, watching them as they watched him. Or that’s how I remember it, but I also remember his face, so I’m not sure […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

Comments: 0

The Roots of King Kendrick

In his groundbreaking book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley tells the story of Kunta Kinte, a young man from Gambia sold into slavery in America in the 18th century. The book—published in 1976 and adapted into a popular television series in 1977—is largely based on true events and real people, as […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Dear E

From our Rejection issue, Leslie Jamison looks back on the geometry of junior high friendships. November 15, 2014 Dear E, Who were we kidding? Back then, friendship was nothing but musical chairs. You’d steal anyone’s spot if it meant you got a seat. Or at least, I would. I did. This was fourth grade. You were […]

Posted in Essays, General

Comments: 1

The Wild What

From our Science Fair issue, an amateur astronomer daydreams about constellations and lets her imagination run rampant. Bright star, you’re a gas!   Several centuries ago the stars reconstellated into figures more relevant to the times. The Earth had been industrializing, mechanizing, electrifying, while the stars were still trotting out swans and goats and bears […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

Comments: 0

Tin House Staff Rejections: Clandestine Supermarket Lobster Liberation

Just to prove we have skin (if not submissions) in the game, we asked our staff members to recall a time in their lives when they were dealt a heaping hot slice of rejection pie. To read more lengthy responses to the prompt, check out our latest issue, which is filled with sad sack tales, […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 4

On Teaching Nicholson Baker

Why You Should Teach Two Books, Each of Which Could Get You Fired

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 0

We’ll Make It

Giant hail, spontaneous combustion. I’m twelve. My mom is annoying, but I love her. I need to keep her safe, so I try to imagine all the ways she could die right now: She could have a seizure and drive into the river. A dog could dart into traffic causing us to swerve into a […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

Comments: 0

Tin House Staff Rejections: Manic Panic Fuchsia Shock

Just to prove we have skin (if not submissions) in the game, we asked our staff members to recall a time in their lives when they were dealt a heaping hot slice of rejection pie. To read more lengthy responses to the prompt, check out our latest issue, which is filled with sad sack tales  […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Our Endless Numbered Days

It always seems to surprise readers that writers don’t have a huge amount of say in the covers of their books.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 0

Tin House Staff Rejections: Blow Log

Just to prove we have skin (if not submissions) in the game, we asked our staff members to recall a time in their lives when they were dealt a heaping hot slice of rejection pie. To read more lengthy responses to the prompt, check out our latest issue, which is filled with sad sack tales  […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Dear Gordon Lish

From the hot-off-the-presses Rejection Issue, here is Mitchell S. Jackson on being rejected by his onetime mentor, Gordon Lish. Jackson will join Rejection Issue-mates Paul Beatty and Ann Hodgman at the New York release party at KGB this Sunday, March 1 at 7:00pm. Dear Gordon: You know where we come from: jet trips from Paris […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

How I Came to Live Here

We drove through Oakland, a desultory meander along the estuary in the warehouse district where the Port boom cranes line up in a string of white horses and the big freighters hug the shore waiting to be relieved of their cargo so they can turn around and get more on the other side of the […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity, Writer's Workshop

Comments: 0

First Catch Yourself A Squirrel

“I can get you a squirrel next week,” my accountant, Julian, said.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 4

Message in a Bottle / a Religious Alternative

When I was six, I developed a spiritual disorder. I started believing that someday, I would find a message in a bottle. Over the years, the condition mutated from the gnostic persuasion of a 6-year-old into a belief system more commonly found in those who have seen Jesus in their toast. The conviction broke out […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

Comments: 0

Lost & Found: Nick Obourn on Jack Black

From our Hope/Dread issue, a look at the autobiography of a career hobo who lied, cheated, and stole his way across America. For one year, I was the only employee of a small, quiet shop in Portland, Oregon, that specialized in rare and academic books. The job had many perks: a world of esoteric information […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

Comments: 1

Cheers to Lacy M. Johnson

We were thrilled with yesterday’s announcement that Lacy M. Johnson’s The Other Side was selected as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. To celebrate the news, we thought it fitting to rerun an excerpt from her memoir that first appeared in our Memory issue. Check back tomorrow for an interview with Lacy. […]

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 1

Guibert’s Ghost

In France, Hervé Guibert was widely recognized as a transgressive, unflinching writer who interwove fact and fiction in his various novels published through the 1980s. As part of Paris’s cultural milieu, he quickly became friends—and even lovers—with the philosopher Michel Foucault. When Foucault died in 1984, purportedly to cancer, Guibert swerved from his violent phantasmagorias […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Jalapeño Jelly

And what do I do with this spicy, dangerous, jelly?

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 0

One of Us is a Mystery: Marilynne Robinson and the Cosmology of Perdition

Cosmology is the practice of discovering and articulating origins: scientifically speaking, the origins of the universe. But human experiences have their own murky geneses to wade through, and they deserve (or at least require) an equally diligent attention. Marilynne Robinson’s trilogy of Iowa novels – including Gilead, Home, and now Lila – offers such singular […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

The Mice

I step closer and see a ball of fluffy nest material in the air filter compartment, a mix of laundry lint and leaves. Half a dozen baby mice—hairless, blind, helpless on their backs—are squirming on the hot plastic bottom of the box. Soon all the guys in the garage are peeking down into this miracle.

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Rabbit

The rabbit was an unusual gift from my grandmother. She’s a loving woman but not sentimental, and most of the gifts she’s given me over the years have been jewelry or clothing we picked out together at Nordstrom. Though I was getting to be too old for this, I began sleeping with the rabbit every night, and eventually, her soft fur wore down and became patchy, and her body flattened, and her white face grew yellow.

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1