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We weren’t used to our teachers being famous. Instead of an apple, Mr. Garfunkel kept a Grammy on his desk. Still, every class quickly learns to play its teacher like a Rickenbacker. You hear about the ones who drone on because they love the sound of their own voice, but you don’t usually hear […]
As we continue to take applications for our upcoming fiction and nonfiction coastal workshops, we have been rolling out a series of posts featuring our stellar faculty. Today we revisit Dorothy Allison’s contribution to our Anniversary Issue. Jason is going to be famous, and the best part is that he knows he will be good at […]
“Think of what you were doing at his age,” Andrew said. His fourteen-year-old kid skateboarded a respectful distance ahead, up the dark winding path on the Santa Cruz cliffs, that steep drop into the invisible ocean, so that we could smoke a joint without feeling guilty. We’d all gathered for a friend’s wedding. Andrew […]
First-born, a girl, but anyway his first-born so he brought me to watch when he touched the other woman.
He was used to hearing the bells toll for the dead and watching funerals from the bank office, but this time, alone behind the desk, as the church door swallowed up the swarm of people, he had the impression that the bells tolled louder than ever, twice as loud, four, eight times louder, because there […]
There’s a map bred in the bones of the bird. Before you ingest the chicken wing, you must know the vertices of its hinge, that place where tendons and gristle connect and shake hands. It’s all very scientific. Step One: The Origin Find a likely tray of sacrifices at the church picnic. You’re in […]
The boy skates from one end of the empty café to the other, pretending not to hear the conversation taking place between his parents and the nurse. They are talking about medication, about nutrition, about how much longer his father will have to wait for a liver transplant.
It was the final night of the Eagleburger retreat, held at a cluster of chalets owned by an alum’s shell corporation. The mountains were too close to see. Snow hissed into the jacuzzi. The Dean, the Department Head and the Adjunct stewed in the frothing glow. The Adjunct wore boxers. He had forgotten to pack […]
When they were children, she and her sisters buried their baby teeth in the garden behind their house. Her youngest sister believed the flowers that grew over them—all pink and drooping like pouting mouths—burst straight from the enamel. Roots spread out through the pulpy gums of the earth. She told her youngest sister, Probably Mother […]
The streets of Boston and Cambridge are running through my head again, and it is as effortless as dreaming.
Twice, I have given fake phone numbers to men I met in bars. The first must have been fifty. He bought me a drink; and, offended by how little I talked to him, took it back half-drunk. Ballsy. The second was a film director in Berlin. He was sweet and well-dressed; ever since, I’ve been […]
Damage flowed from my fingernails, which I’d painted a bright shade of indigo. I was obsessed with indigo back then, a time I can barely reconstruct now. I named my rescue cat El Salvador. That country is the world’s largest producer of indigo. I squandered time back then, down Internet holes. India is a name […]
On a Friday evening in June, stoked by the awesome weather, Chip, Lee, and I were doing tequila shots on the patio of Noah’s Ark Taxidermy.
I work in the city’s tallest building, so tall its penthouse is completely ensconced in clouds.
During a few years in which I went to bed half-heartedly wishing not to wake up and woke up whole-heartedly hoping to be the person I believed I would someday be, I worked for eight months at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Telecommunications Headquarters for the Southwest Chapter, Region 8, calling local business leaders and begging […]
From the time I was very young, I knew I’d be famous.
In the dream, I was attending a pizza buffet with my brother when I was invited to a Caribbean pig roast.
He laughed. He said, That sign’s just there for the guys who come in to read porn. He made quotes with his fingers when he said read.
We wonder if those fatal river rocks appeared to you as they appear to us—like molars from the mouths of giants. Your first name is Meredith, and your last name is something German-sounding that we quickly forgot. From the banks near Paradise Lodge, some of us spot the dull lampglow of your life jacket under […]
Lesley Gore has a good voice, my grandpa said. Shame about her face, though. Where did I get the idea that things were better back then? Probably from my Pappy. The joke about old people goes that they don’t know how to program the VCR and can’t ever learn but Pappy loved videos, video stores, […]
One of the twins has his mouth sewn shut.
In my sister’s taxonomy, our father is a squirrel. She’s eight, I’m five, and we both agree on this, although if we didn’t, she’d have the final word. Our father: Limpid squirrel eyes, a narrow squirrel face, prominent squirrel teeth. He scampers and leaps and takes small nibbles of everything, even apples. “Pure squirrel,” she […]
We are pleased to present three of our favorites of the the fifty-two sketches of “men encountered by a young woman in Manhattan” in Louise Wareham Leonard’s autobiographical novel 52 Men, out this month from Red Hen Press. 4 Richard is a student at the School of Visual Arts. I pass him one day, on my way from the […]
Closing down the Open Bar’s week with Clarice, we present a freshly translated piece of Flash Fiction about a “hairy nun” who leaves the convent in search of sex. She was tall, strong, hairy. Mother Clara had dark hair on her upper lip and deep-set, black eyes. She had entered the convent at her family’s […]
In honor of the upcoming New Directions release of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories, we decided to hand The Open Bar keys over to the Brazilian legend. Tune in all week for previously unpublished and newly translated stories, as well as reviews and thoughts on her work. Today, we bring you the previously unpublished story (!!!!!) […]