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Grow Your Own

Seeing as that it’s April 20th, we thought we’d celebrate with a preview of Grow Your Own, our forthcoming guide to understanding, cultivating, and enjoying cannabis.

Posted in From Tin House Books, Nonfiction

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Lost & Found: Adam Wilson on John Berryman’s Recovery

What is it about Recovery that’s so scary? And why, in our voyeuristic culture, where buzzwords like suicide and addiction spell entry into Oprah’s Book Club and tortured genius is the stuff of Best Adapted Screenplays, is no one reading this novel?

Posted in Nonfiction | Tagged ,

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Two Scenarios Involving Manuel G. Villarreal, 1969-1970

Biên Hòa, Vietnam: 1969 After a week of trying to stomach the gnaw of a toothache, my father checks himself into the dental clinic on base. X-rays and an oral exam reveal an abscess rotting his back molar. The dentist refers to the defective tooth by a number and pumps a pedal to lower the […]

Posted in Flash Fidelity, Nonfiction

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Loud in the Time of Chaos

Noise. It’s killing.

Posted in Flash Fidelity, Nonfiction

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Lost & Found: Kate Schmier on Art and Laurie Pepper

“I realized from that moment on, I would be, if you want to use the word, a junkie,” wrote legendary jazz saxophonist Art Pepper of his first time using heroin in 1950. “That’s what I practiced; and that’s what I still am. And that’s what I will die as—a junkie.”

These words appear about a quarter of the way into Pepper’s explosive memoir, Straight Life, a 500-page tome that defies conventional narratives about addiction. Unlike so many tales of this genre—and I’ve read many—Straight Life offers no redemption. There is no grand epiphany. There is only the unsettling truth: Pepper’s awareness that he would be a dope fiend for the rest of his days.

Posted in Lost & Found, Nonfiction

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Lost & Found: Alex DiFrancesco on Stories from the Amazon

When I look deeply at mythology like that of Barbecued Husbands, or really much of the indigenous mythology of the Americas, as it wanders and takes abrupt turns and risks, I see a precursor to the works that resonate with me in modern writing. Their inventiveness is both deeply informed by and leaves behind the constraints of realism.

Posted in Lost & Found, Nonfiction

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When You’re a Writer Who Doesn’t Like Writing

I saw the event advertised at my local library and signed up before I could talk myself out of it.

Posted in Flash Fidelity, Nonfiction

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Bones

My parents go to Bogota and come back with an emerald and a child. I already have an older sister and a baby brother. The new child was supposed to be three but he’s seven like me. My mother tells us that during their first meal he ate a chicken leg including the bone. They didn’t realize until it was gone.

Posted in Flash Fidelity, Nonfiction

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Thank You, Magical (But Horrible) World: An Interview with Elena Passarello

Talking to Elena Passarello is like talking to a human Wikipedia, but one that sings and leaps to show its excitement for the subject at hand. Before attending the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, she worked in theater, and her masterful grasp of her own voice, and her infectious sense of wonder […]

Posted in Interviews, Nonfiction

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Red Currants and “Gooseberries”

More recently, I’ve seen red currants, still attached in grapelike clusters to their delicate twiggy stems, at the farmer’s market, where they sell for the incredible price of seven dollars a half-pint. And I have bought the berries, two pints at a time, and stared at them in their green cardboard cartons, and willed that something, that enormous feeling, to come back to me: that emotion which is not quite happy and not quite unhappy, but a fragile mix of both.

Posted in Nonfiction

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Art in the Age of Apocalypses

Lately I have been thinking about what it means to be an artist, and what kinds of responsibilities an artist has to this world in which we live.

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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Four Nan Goldin Photographs

I imagined that I could hear the clicking of the carousel, but really I couldn’t. I more or less felt it somewhere in my body though, like my heartbeat. Sitting in a dark room at the MoMA, I watched Nan Goldin’s slide show, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.” On either side of me my Art […]

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

Comments: 1

Lost & Found: Ralph Hubbell on Sabahattin Ali

No one has ever congratulated me for reading a book before, I suppose except for my first—that is not until last summer in Istanbul, when a few of my Turkish friends saw me toting around the new translation of Sabahattin Ali’s Madonna in a Fur Coat. I felt as if I was being congratulated for […]

Posted in Lost & Found, Nonfiction

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Abandon Me: An Excerpt

Here are the things I knew about my birth father

Posted in Nonfiction

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Lost & Found: Rebecca Sonkin on Daniel Mendelsohn

I was living in Paris a few years ago when I happened into a prescient gig: videotaping interviews with adult children of child survivors of the Holocaust in France. For background, the professor overseeing the project urged me to reread The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn. Reread The Lost? I had never heard of it. When […]

Posted in Lost & Found, Nonfiction

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Experts in the Field

“What I really want to say is that all of these things happened to me, that none of it was okay, that I didn’t deserve any of it, and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. But the truth is it has all diminished me, silenced me, terrified me, and shamed me. We know, don’t we, that men, especially those in positions of power, try to hurt, tame and control what they fear, and cannot or will not try to understand. And we trust that women, individually and especially together, are tremendously powerful. If ever there was a time to disregard those who won’t believe our stories, now is the time to speak very plainly about the behavior of those men who assume we’ll be swept away by their poetry, or politics, before we understand what’s happened. Says James Baldwin: “The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim…she has become a threat.”

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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In Praise of the Interweaver: An Essay

‘Multi-stranded’, ‘polyvocal’, ‘perspective-shifting’ – call it what you will, but to my mind, a novel that consists of various narrative strands braiding together to form a glorious, elegantly-crafted whole, will always be best-described as an ‘Interweaver’. I have just published my first ‘Interweaver’, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, and I decided to take the […]

Posted in Essays, From Tin House Books, Nonfiction

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Lost & Found: Marcia DeSanctis on Graham Greene

I wasn’t officially banned from the Winchester Public Library in the spring of 1976, but for a few weeks, I stayed away. Mrs. Barger, who worked the checkout desk, had discovered me on the back stairs after hours with one hand dangling a Newport Light and the other inside Billy Doyle’s jeans. She knew and […]

Posted in Lost & Found, Nonfiction

Comments: 1

On Virtue

For a while, I sleep with a man from Uzbekistan, because he’s as far from the person my mother would choose for me—a Lutheran, Minnesotan farmer—as possible. We make polite conversation. He says his brother is a private investigator of murders, his favorite dish is horse meat, and his mother wants to arrange his marriage.

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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Celebration #50

We sat, sipped from the same straw, and didn’t talk much except to wonder at the heat and puzzle over why the wine wouldn’t get us drunk, why nothing was strong enough anymore. I bought us one more bottle and that was it for the cash. “Happy birthday,” Sunny Dee said, and I gave her the last blue swallow.

Posted in Flash Fidelity, Nonfiction

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Topknots and Vaseline

I have these fantasies of an unknown flag draped around my shoulders— loyalty for the oblique, repping for the pre-defeated, running toward this pacing mercenary who has every intent to kill me. Someone is screaming my name and it’s the voice of my mother, or a dead friend. Doesn’t matter—they’re all looking for me now. Someone takes off my shirt because I can’t with gloves on. All around me, dark figures congregate. Someone is rubbing my eyes and blowing gently. Someone kisses my forehead. There is music. Chanting and opalescence. Bets are being made. My sister is there—she’s hanging onto the cage, yelling our family name. I never see who I fight, but I’ve felt her pace. I’ve tapped gloves on that heat and walked away.

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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Some Form of Punishment

I know. It’s just an eating disorder. Or “disordered eating,” as I’ve been taught to say. But when women can’t choose what to do with their bodies, they find a way to choose.

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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Dust in the Wind

When it’s time for the first dance, the band has not, in fact, learned “Here Comes My Girl.” So I send them on a smoke break and plug in my iPod. The drumbeat build-up, the chiming piano. Mama and Jim hold each other and dance, moving lightly in the space. The chorus breaking open, a cascading guitar. They keep their eyes on each other.

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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Letter from a Liberal Minority

Political comparisons are inherently approximate, but nevertheless necessary and even instructive. In the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump, American liberals betrayed a sense of apprehension that felt familiar to me from the time I spent in Pakistan during those years. The rage and anger of Trump rallies, their open denunciations of tolerance, their garish greed for dominance and, beneath it all, their strategic use of desperation as a means to whet the poor against the weak, bore more than an incidental resemblance to rallies that have raged through Pakistan in the past decade.

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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What Needed Screwing Got Screwed

An excerpt from Los Angeles in the 1970’s: Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine (edited by David Kukoff)  Any good craftsman carries his tools. Years ago they were always at the ready. In a car. In a knapsack. Claw hammers, crisscrossed heads, thirty-two ouncers. Wrenches in all sizes, sometimes with oil caked on the teeth. […]

Posted in Essays, Nonfiction

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