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Spring, 2005 I stand in the doorway of the Bibliothèque Nationale reading room, the soaring sanctum before me, above me the ceiling a grandeur of opaque glass wreathed with names of great cities: Alexandria, Athens, London, Babylon, Jerusalem, Byzantium, Peking. I’m here in search of Rainer Maria Rilke. Strapped for cash, unschooled, twenty-seven years old […]
Teddy has been sitting on the same brown sofa in the family room for over ten years, staring at Rita’s photograph across from him. There’s a faraway look in his droopy eyes, and from the way he stares at my wife’s photograph, I can tell he is trying to say something, but can’t get the […]
She pointed out sticks for me to pick up. The sticks needed to be long, but not too long; thick, but not too thick; and straight, without leaves. It was August in England, and although we’d had a fine summer, it had been raining all day and the sticks were muddy. I picked them up without complaining. My daughter didn’t speak much, even though the idea that we should recreate the US cover of my novel had been her suggestion. Still, I was happy to be spending time with her, because she is seventeen and I don’t get to do that very often any more.
I grew up indiscriminately loving all the songs that came on the radio, but it was the fact of the radio itself, the little box on the floor by my bed, that brought the music to life and made it a kind of magic for me.
Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays is out this week. To celebrate, we’re running a few of his nonfiction pieces that didn’t quite fit the book but that we adore nonetheless. This essay first appeared in the Portland broadside The Organ. I’m not an art critic, and I’m hopelessly corny—qualifications enough to say a few words […]
Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays is out this week. To celebrate, we’re running a few of his nonfiction pieces that didn’t quite fit the book but that we adore nonetheless. This essay first appeared in The New Yorker in 2007. As a kid, I rarely went to the movies. My one memory of a summer movie […]
An excerpt from Peter Turchi’s A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic. For more information about the book and its author, be sure to click over to Fiction Writers Review for an interview between Peter and Robert Boswell. My wife has a fantasy, a desire she often expresses, which I feel […]
Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays is out this week. To celebrate, we’re running a few of his nonfiction pieces that didn’t quite fit the book but that we adore nonetheless. This essay first appeared in The New York Times in 2006. I haven’t had much success with home, as a child or an adult. I’ve lived […]
All of us at Tin House were thrilled to hear the news that Ann Hood’s essay “Tomato Pie” was included in the 2014 Best Food Writing collection. First appearing in our Memory issue, the essay concludes with a wonderful recipe that most of our staff indulged in over the summer. This includes Tin House executive editor […]
When all the other girls in our class were fawning over Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter, we were in love with a crocodile hunter.
If a modern film version of Pride and Prejudice were produced today, some of the main characters should be gay, Elizabeth and Darcy should not get married at the end, and Charlotte Lucas should be played by a tabby cat. At least, those were the conclusions made by students in a college course I taught […]
Too often, when writers try to write an essay, they stumble on common pitfalls like cramming too much information into too small a space, giving too much back story, or trying to write an essay for a particular column rather than writing an emotionally true one. We all have read memoirs that take our breath […]
My brother turns to me. He says: I want to go home, but I don’t know where that is. I say to him, so do I. In time, I’ll repeat that line to him. He’ll agree, and we’ll order another round. Neither of us lives on the street. He lives in an apartment. I doubled […]
Plagued by doubt, I pick at my prose, searching for answers. If I keep scratching, the text will bleed. I stop writing. Though the novel is nearly done, a crucial element is missing and I am uncertain how to proceed.
Five years ago, a stranger with an accent asked for my number. He approached me in a dark, cavernous bar in the West Village, a place known as much for its live jazz as for its cheap beer and pool tables. I had drifted away from my friends to hear the music. The band played […]
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan I was ten when I submitted my first […]
A pretends that a wax figure, X, is his wife
from The Writer’s Notebook II: Craft Essays from Tin House
“The Only Solution to the Soul Is the Senses: A Meditation on Bill Murray and Myself” by David Shields
from The Story About the Story II: Great Writers Explore Great Literature
from The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House
from The Story About the Story: Great Writers Explore Great Literature
Imagine the quintessential fresh-from-the-land Midwestern bounty of my Mennonite childhood and you might also imagine the quintessential spread this sort of landscape suggests.
Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly sore I treat myself to a massage. I always consider this carefully since I don’t have much cash to throw around. How much am I hurting today? Will a massage be worth the few tips I’ll make during a slow lunch shift, five hours of my life spent scooping out […]
The month before I turned nineteen, I traveled to Sydney, Australia for a semester-long study abroad trip that I was convinced would be the first of many adventures. Beside me on the flight sat a fellow sophomore named Robby, someone I didn’t know but recognized from campus, where he’d breeze by on a skateboard to […]
Tin House author, Lacy Johnson responds to George Will’s op-ed column, “Colleges become the victims of progressivism”, in The Washington Post.