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Memory

Issue #59, Spring, 2014

Aeschylus posited, “Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” While true, memory also can be a trickster, and cruel. And why are some of our most emotionally laden memories incomplete, a scent or color or image triggering a flood of half-remembered events accompanied by an overwhelming sense of joy or dread? In this issue we wrestle with this imperfect and changeable source of all writing. Stephen King, Kevin Barry, Cheryl Strayed, Colum McCann, and Jodi Angel offer short takes on their strongest memories evoked by a piece of clothing or jewelry. Dana Spiotta and Rachel Kushner, two of America’s sharpest cultural observers, talk about collective memory and the creative process of weaving the personal with the political. In “Moving On,” Diane Cook imagines a future in which our former spouses are counseled out of our memories. The incomparable Joy Williams, in her story “The Country,” asks, “Why are we here?” C. K. Williams offers a “Little Hymn to Time,” Charlie Smith asks “Why Harp on It?,” and Troy Jollimore plumbs the “Past Imperfect.” I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

A note about the digital versions: If you read on a Kindle, use the Mobipocket edition; for all other e-readers, use the ePub edition.

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Joy Williams

THE COUNTRY • The discussion that evening concerned the old reliable: Why Are We Here?

Diane Cook

MOVING ON • They let me tend to my husband's burial and settle his affairs.

Diane Williams

A MERE FLASK POURED OUT
AT A PERIOD OF EXCEPTIONAL DULLNESS

Dale Peck

PARABLE OF THE MAN LOST IN THE SNOW • The 'Parable of the Man Lost in the Snow' always begins the same way: a group of novices asks a master to tell them the story.

Seth Fried

HELLO AGAIN • After a long and tumultuous expansion, the universe began to contract

Craig Morgan Teicher

SOME ELEGIES
TRACHEOTOMY

Sean Zhuraw

ESP READER INSTRUCTIONS

Caroline Knox

WHEN I WAS ABOUT YOUR AGE,

Charlie Smith

WHY HARP ON IT
HERE, DOG
THIS WATER TASTES OF IRON

C.K. Williams

LITTLE HYMN TO TIME
SCENTS

Anna McDonald

MURRAY HILL
AFTERNOON IN BETHNAL GREEN

Lindsay Walker

MANIFESTO FOR THE BROKEN
BENEFACTOR

Troy Jollimore

PAST IMPERFECT

Joe Wenderoth

DARKNESS

Lacy M. Johnson

THE SOUNDPROOF ROOM • An unthinkable crime is the backdrop for this brave exploration of violence, memory, and the body.

Allen Crawford

WHITMAN ILLUMINATED: SONG OF MYSELF • The acclaimed illustrator illuminates Whitman's most famous poem. The result is a dazzling blend of image and text

Maggie Nelson

THE ARGONAUTS • How can an experience so profoundly strange and wild and transformative also symbolize the ultimate conformity?

Phillip Lopate

EARLY MEMORIES OF A CLASS TRAITOR • Ever the delightful naysayer, the author takes issue with taking issue with the inaccuracies of memory.

Tiffany Briere

VISION • Genetics and a West Indian ancestry come together to prove Faulkner's oft-quoted phrase: 'The past is never dead. It's not even past.'

Colum McCann

THE JOURNEY HOME

Stephen King

THE RING

Jodi Angel

THE NEGATIVE SPLIT

Kevin Barry

1988, SABINA

Cheryl Strayed

MY UNIFORM

Rachel Kushner

Dana Spiotta sat down with the author of The Flamethrowers and discussed cultural memory, getting bravery from reading, and idiosyncratic strengths.

Stephen Sparks

ON FRANCES A YATES'S The Art of Memory How to use the age-old practice of artificial memory, or 'inner writing,' to help organize one's mind

Rebecca Makai

ON GEORGE R. STEWART'S Ordeal by HungerAn unexpectedly empathic exploration of the Donner Party disaster, one of history's most famous stories of cannibalism

Hugh Ryan

ON ANATOLE POHORILENKO AND JAMES CRUMP'S When We Were Three: The Travel Albums of George Platt Lynes, Monroe Wheeler, and Glenway Wescott, 1925-1935'These were extraordinary times.

Micah Perks

ON ELIZABETH MARSHALL THOMAS'S Reindeer MoonGrowing up on a commune set the stage for the author's appreciation of this tale about a restless and trapped Paleolithic teenaged spirit

Susan Rebeca White

ON EDNA LEWIS'S The Edna Lewis CookbookOn Southern food and sticking to your roots, to say nothing of your gut

Ann Hood

TOMATO PIE • A portrait of the artist as a savory pie enthusiast