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Cussword ABC’s

My uncles taught me cusswords to the tune of the ABC’s. I was six. This was Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the mid-eighties.

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

Comments: 1

Donna Tartt and the MacGuffin

I read The Goldfinch last summer when my partner Dustin and I cat-sat for a friend in Woodstock for 8 days, a busman’s holiday. I was working on my novel, he was working on our script, and we wanted to go off and be in the relative quiet of the woods as we did this, […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

The Settlers: An Exclusive Essay from The Believer

As you may have heard by now, both Tin House and its beloved, smart, and good looking literary sibling the Believer are offering up a joint promotion where for only $65,  you’ll get a year’s subscription to both magazines (Subscribe today! Here!). To help move product celebrate this unique partnership, we decided it might be fun […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Amtrak and Letting Go

For many of us who attended AWP in Seattle, the biggest obstacle in returning home was a wicked hangover and/or an overpacked suitcase full of books. For Jen Fitzgerald, the odyssey was a bit more complicated.  The bus driver’s palm was bloodied where the screwdriver had slid across it. He pried the panel off to check […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 4

Watermark Books

More than once in my own fiction, I’ve called Wichita, Kansas a dusty, grown-up cow town. There’s truth in my phrase, but also some exotifying. These days, Wichita is a city with wide streets and a Barnes & Noble spacious enough to fit multiple 747s; the once-patch of prairie is now populated with sprawling aircraft […]

Posted in Book Clubbing, Essays

Comments: 6

Just the Facts

Wandering the aisles of your local bookstore (or the AWP Book Fair in Seattle), marveling at the number of books in the world and the amount of knowledge that fills them? So are we. So is Aaron Labaree, who wrestles with the implications of non-fiction in this essay. When it comes to books and book-buying, […]

Posted in Essays, General

Comments: 1

How Not to Hate Your Friends

AWP can be decadent fun, but its sideshow of agenda-pushing and humblebragging can lead you to feel hungover in more ways than one. If you’re dreading seeing some of your online acquaintances in real life, Courtney Maum (once again) has some tips on how to go from feeling like a “have not” to a “have.” […]

Posted in Essays, Writer's Workshop

Comments: 4

Culture and Imperialism in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

In his 1941 essay “Epic and Novel: Toward a Methodology for the Study of the Novel,” the Russian literary critic and philosopher M.M. Bakhtin cited three elements that distinguish the epic from other forms of storytelling. These distinctions came to mind last week when a mysterious and elaborate—and, it would turn out, aesthetically beautiful—package arrived […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

The Red Pen: Thoughts On Editing and Being Edited

When I was in college, I sat down for an informational interview with an editor who mentioned an old saying that one can write or one can edit, but one can’t do both. Maybe people really do go around saying this, but I never did hear anyone else suggest it, and in fact I don’t […]

Posted in Essays, Writer's Workshop

Comments: 4

Cave Dwellings

One cave dwelling looks much the same as another, and this was the very same, the exact tour as yesterday only with a different guide, one younger with longer legs and shorter sideburns whom I found better informed and less attractive. My husband disappeared without a flashlight into the vast sandstone cellar with the rest, […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 3

The Comma That Launched a Thousand Ships

Punctuation altercation illustrates concern for clear communication. Religion. Politics. The Oxford comma. These things should not be discussed in polite company, particularly by people who have strong feelings about them — raising the topic before the eyes of the readers of Tin House is the action of a madwoman. — “There are people who embrace […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 13

Bigger Than Ourselves

We were in the woods and we were high the first time we heard the wolves. Before the wolves, we were in my living room, drinking Mexican Cokes with the windows open. It was the first warm day of spring, the pavement wet from all it was losing, and the curtains blew wild above the […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Hey, Chief

I have a recurring dream that my father is puttering around in his garage, waiting for me to come help him fix his aging Dodge Dakota. He sits there on his Craftsman stool, unburdened by the pains of chemotherapy, brown eyes shining with mirth and wisdom, bent over an old water pump. “Hey, Chief, can […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 14

The Fiction of Peace

Recently, I was reminded that this was the last Veterans Day of our Iraq and Afghanistan wartime era.

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Look Back

There are these things that happen that we later look back upon with regret. Leaving my almost-fiancé was certainly one of these things. Keith and I had once vacationed in Waterford, Marseilles, Gettysburg, Stockholm, Puerto Rico. We’d stayed at a bed and breakfast named for Abraham Lincoln and another for an old war colonel. We’d […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

A Unique and Collective Experience

An Essay by Adam Braver

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 0

Joining the Mystery

An Essay by Adam Braver

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 0

ENDINGS: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

We thought this excerpt from Elissa Schappell’s excellent essay from The Writer’s Notebook II might be both informative and inspirational to those of you taking part in our Shirley Jackson Short Story contest.  “Great is the art of beginning,” Longfellow said, “but greater the art of ending.” It’s true. Beginnings, like first kisses, need only […]

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 1

Ten Things I Learned From Knitting

Who knew that by learning to knit, we also learn how to live?

Posted in Essays, Writer's Workshop

Comments: 4

Irreconcilable Differences

My father was an airline pilot, a profession premised on a longing to be elsewhere.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

Comments: 0

Hoofbeats on the Page

When I was a young girl, I devoured books about horses. Black Beauty may have been the first – how better to draw in the reader than a story told in the voice of the creature himself? Sewall’s novel led me to Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague and King of the Wind, Enid Bagnold’s National […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

These Storms Both Big And Small

Once the tornado touches down, there’s only so much you can do, and before it touches down, it’s all too easy to ignore. You teach. You tell Kira to put away her headphones, turn her music off, switch her cellphone onto silent and won’t Brody please turn back around? You insist. You say, Listen. The […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

This Happened to Me: Musings on Perspective and the Memoir-worthy Bar

On the first day of my M.F.A. degree program in non-fiction writing, my teacher made the following announcement: “Unless you’ve been fortunate enough to make out with your father, odds are good you don’t have memoir material.”

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

The Search for Granny-dump Mountain

A few years back I learned of a shocking legend: when elders in rural Japan reached age 70 their sons carried them up a sacred mountain and left them on top to die of exposure and starvation. Obasute-yama, or “granny-dump mountain” is mentioned by a mysterious 11th century writer named Lady Sarashina and the 17th […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Spitting Out My Heart: On Being Lost and Found and Reading Anaïs Nin’s House of Incest

“I’ll never be able to separate that book from that day.”

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1