Author Archive

Lawless Discipline and Other Western Charms

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Before caravanning West with a couple of movers–who drove out from the mountains, arrived ripely hung-over, looked at all the boxes of books and 78s, then called local movers to off-load the gig–we lived half a block from a drive-through liquor store. Weeks earlier,

Literary Conversations

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Guest post by Carol Keeley It began, like most obsessions, in a used bookstore on Broadway. Late one afternoon, I was listlessly foraging for food and stopped to browse pre-loved books in my old Chicago neighborhood. I venture to say that most people most of the time experience the

Tigerella Needs a Home

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Guest post by Carol Keeley In an email exchange with David Gates, Jonathan Lethem writes: Hey, David. As I was saying to my 2,472 friends the other day, these certainly are strange times in the history of the boundary between the human persons and the written words. He goes

Solvitur Ambulando

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Solvitur ambulando–a phrase that dates to Diogenes: “it is solved by walking.” If writers had a flag, this could be its inscription. Feeling stuck or distracted? Stressed, uninspired, rageful, confused? Go for a walk. For more than a quarter-century, Schopenhauer kept the same daily

In the Spirit of Catherine of Siena

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Guest post by Carol Keeley I grew up in small town in Michigan with thick-armed trees and noble Victorians, lush farm produce, a turn of the century Opera House. It’s leafy, kind, conservative, and typically Midwestern but for the blessed Adrian Dominicans–a tribe of women I sorely wish were

The Conceit of Wisdom

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Garrison Keillor kicked the beehive with his recent death-of-publishing op-ed. The reaction was vigorously optimistic, with a little messenger-mocking. The backdrop to this volley was BookExpo America, widely described as funereal. As usual, I agree with everyone. Keillor is right that the era of

Meeting New Orleans

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Guest post by Carol Keeley We land and see palm trees, which baffles me. It’s my first trip to New Orleans. For some reason, I hadn’t pictured palm trees. Immediately, we see houses scarred with post-Katrina markings–the number of bodies, stranded pets, when it was searched. Some are the

Sentences as Witchcraft: An Anti-Manifesto

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Guest post by Carol Keeley There’s a famous exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, in which Fitzgerald prescribes moderation, invoking Flaubert as tutorial. To suggest restraint as ballast for one who tips toward excess is fair advice. But to say it’s superior is a brawl-starter. “Don’t forget,

They Used to Burn Us

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Guest post by Carol Keeley When Lisa told me, joyfully, that they’d decided to have the baby at home with a midwife, I took a breath before chorusing support. Because I love her, I resisted blurting my worries. “But you’re forty-one and this is your first baby. Are you

The Voice Inside the Book

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Guest post by Carol Keeley My friend Pip sent an intriguing note recently. He’d just finished reading A Short History of Nearly Everything and had a taste for something classic, so pulled Homer from his shelves. The book was part of a library his dad had accumulated, Pip wrote.