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I want a female main character with power. And I want her to do harm, because there’s no story without trouble.
“You’re like a radiant corpse,” she said to the man in her bed. She had wanted to say it for days. “I know,” he said brightly, looking up from his book. He was older than she was. “I get exhausted,” he explained. “I really do. But then I get excited.” “Then you forget your body,” […]
If you walked into that house you’d think you’ve just walked out of it. It always smells like toast. Toast and fertilizer. There are a lot of green plants around but none of them are alive, unless you believe plastic breathes, and the man in there does. He does tai chi after breakfast every morning […]
The boyfriend’s girlfriend used to speak to him like he was a baby. She would come up to him stringing nonsense sounds together like “jeebie jeebie” or “newmoo newmoo” and hug him or pinch his cheeks. After she bought the dog, however, the girlfriend stopped talking to the boyfriend like he was a baby. Instead, […]
The wrestler emerged from the kitchen, the weight of a coal-burning grill in both hands, and I felt like clapping. The “barbecue” was more Korean yakiniku than tabletop Coleman, and it had landed in the middle of our table. With a fork, he speared a hefty cube of pig fat and rubbed it back and forth across the burner, until it sizzled and oozed and I possibly audibly ahh’d. His assistant poured, from a burnished kettle, an herb-fragrant broth into the moat that surrounded the smoking coals. The wrestler slowly lifted an egg above his head and brought it down with a crack! on the metal tureen. Strands of gold and milky white raced into the broth, swirling and solidifying in the steaming brew.
When we went to see the trailer we’d rented, officially Uhauling, it was clear immediately: our books weren’t going to fit. I had eighteen boxes. She had eighteen boxes. The shipping would cost over a grand and so we reconsidered. We were moving the cheapest way possible, to a new state where neither of us […]
Taking my hand, he led me through the Louisiana Swamp Gallery to a verdant artificial garden. Arias of brightly colored canaries were locked in a cages along the wall. Holly stood on a plastic bridge and butterflies filled the air. An immense azure morpho landed atop her head. She knelt down to show Zion its palpating wings.
I look at her bed and imagine her in her faded nightgown, lying sleepless, a thin arm outstretched to my father’s bed alongside her.
I look at his bed and see his pillows smoothed and propped up, his sheets tucked tight, his blanket folded at the foot.
In college, just as I was starting to think of myself as a writer—also known as my “insufferable” phase—I felt a vague anthropological obligation to interview the elderly people on my mother’s side of the family. I figured I only had a couple of years, tops, before they all died. My uncle’s parents, for instance, […]
Literature, read on the sly, gave the author her first taste of the strange world of that mysterious being, the adult. From Issue 63, Rejection. What I remember is a park in Boise, a summer picnic in the late 1960s, and my father lurching to a stop on the sidewalk to let a girl pass. […]
In Olympia, my father
to whom I will not speak,
whose face heavies with the shrinking
ledger of days,
plants azaleas after surgery, the grooves
in his fingers filling with soil
April is National Poetry Month, so we thought we’d check in with our staff for some poetry recommendations. Where better to start than with Matthew Dickman, our Poetry Editor: Matthew: I can’t stop reading work by Khadijah Queen. Her poems are dynamic, ecstatic, and important. Copies of her books Fearful Beloved and Non-Sequitur are never […]
Sometimes I’d cry when I read and sometimes I’d feel nothing at all, just numbness. But there was always this strange mix of caring, compassion, helplessness, and rage— the four things mixed in different proportions. I found that I wanted to write something about that feeling, that combination of empathy and impotence.
When I interviewed people about the murders, some cautioned that the crime was a black hole that held nothing within. Heinous crimes are like that, people said. They do not teach lessons, they only confirm the worst suspicions about what can happen in our world. To venture close to an entity so dark and try to wrest value from its depths was not only foolish, it was dangerous: a black hole withholds and mangles all it consumes and devours anything wandering too close to its invisible mouth. Yet, the same people who compassionately issued this warning also told me, often at length, of all the crime had come to mean in their lives, how it had challenged their beliefs or fortified them. How it continued to flicker as a figure on the edge of their peripheral vision, moving out of range when they turned to see it head-on.
At the Best Buy on Reserve, I saw my future self in line to buy an Xbox. He had twenty years and fifty pounds on me, and he’d lost his hair. But he was me; I recognized myself, like you can recognize your red Outback in a parking lot full of them. I don’t play […]
We still get a Christmas tree. We still light the menorah. My husband continues to prepare pork chops with a sense of ritual and familiarity that must feel like coming home. The kids have grown up—now 23 and 19—one bar mitzvahed, the other a devout atheist–and are free to make religious commitments of their own.
The following appears in the current issue of Tin House, Faith. Writing about the subject of faith in a country named for faith, founded upon faith, with faith as the central word of its national motto, is, shall we say, a somewhat fraught endeavor. I have for the past six years again lived in Pakistan, […]
The diabetic alcoholic across the street had lost all limbs by now. He only came out anymore for Medi-Van transport to dialysis. It took two strong men to hoist him and his wheelchair down the splintered wooden front stairs. He lived alone with his aging mother, who never came out to wave goodbye. That mother? […]
Through his art, Eads expresses complex themes, such as the notion of an eternal soul and the passage of time. He gives the soul a physical form, suggesting “something inside us in between the heart and the mind.”
As you may have noticed, we’re having some good old fashioned website problems. We’re working on restoring the content we lost (including the online excerpts from our new Faith Issue and the last few months of blog material. We’ll try to have your favorite recent Art of the Sentence, Lost & Found, and Flash Fridays posts up […]
The first thing you should know is that I had the privilege of witnessing nearly every poem in Amanda Nadelberg’s remarkable new book, Songs from a Mountain, move through multiple draft stages and sometimes into radically different forms. Amanda and I have been friends for a long time. Since her Minneapolis days, when she lived […]
This month sees the release of our newest issue, the Faith issue. Read our Editor Rob Spillman’s introduction below, scope some hopefully tantalizing quotes, read a few excerpts online, and then buy the issue or—better yet—subscribe! We have faith you’ll make the right call. Samuel Beckett famously ended his novel The Unnamable “You must go on. I can’t […]
Never let the ink of biographers touch you, but if it happens learn what you can of their witchcraft. It will be useful should you ever find yourself without linen. I would never have risen above backwoods, bow-tied Superintendent or circuit judge had I not studied the alchemy of metaphor. There are maybe two […]
How Do You Live In A World That’s Not The World You Thought It Was?: An Interview with Brian Evenson
Brian Evenson’s first book, Altmann’s Tongue, was unsettling enough to some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that its publication set into a motion a chain of reactions that led to Evenson’s departure from his professorship at Brigham Young University, and, eventually, from membership in the church altogether. (Readers interested […]
For seventy-nine recorded seconds in 1957, poet Kenneth Patchen and a group of jazz musicians achieved a perfect melding of minds and biorhythms. A few years before, Patchen had begun a series of collaborations, performing and recording with the Chamber Jazz Sextet in San Francisco, the Bed of Roses Chamber Group in Seattle, the Alan […]