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Scott_Bourne_tinhouse

 

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: 3

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

Lake Path

Already late at 7:45 AM. I’m pretending to check my tires. Pinching them. Still wondering what exactly I’m supposed to be feeling, even after three months of owning the bike. I grimace in a way that I hope suggests studied concern and cock my head to signify the process of diagnosing a problem—just in case […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Karen Joy Fowler’s What I Didn’t See

Karen Joy Fowler is probably best known for her 2005 saucy, satirical bestseller The Jane Austen Book Club, published by Plume and made into a film, although her just published novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, has garnered fabulous reviews and should be headed for prizes. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is strange, dark and wondrous, qualities in […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

An Introduction to Athene Palace: Hitler’s “New Order” Comes to Rumania

The U.S. pub date for the new edition of R. G. Waldeck’s Athene Place was Sunday, September 15th.

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Eat the World: From Iceland to Amsterdam

The Reykjavik Airport at 6:15am, I sleep on and off against my backpack. Drool pools against the fabric of my jacket-made-pillow in the shape of what kind of Rorschach ink blot? Wings, it appears to me, or something that flies. My skin is soft from a dip in the Blue Lagoon: a sulfur and algae […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Just Above the Buttocks

This September marks the centenary of that seminal moment in English letters when E.M. Forster was goosed by George Merrill. It calls for celebration, parades perhaps. So much changes in that moment. A working-class man, Merrill found happiness as homemaker to socialist sage Edward Carpenter, and worked with him to create an Edwardian haven for […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Outsideness, or: My Phone Says “Searching…”

The following is based on remarks delivered for the 2013 Oregon Legacy Author Series in Lincoln City, Oregon, January 2013. Speakers are asked, “How does the Oregon landscape influence your work?” One evening recently at a family gathering, I found myself alone in the living room, my four-year-old son asleep on my chest, while the […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Song of Myself: The Paradox of the Project

Song of Myself is what philosophers call a “performative” utterance (like a promise or an oath).

Posted in Essays, Poetry

Comments: 1