Kafka Archive

Bodily Shifts

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I’m currently about five months pregnant with our second child, and I’m finding this state no less strange the second time around. It’s plenty of other things too—miraculous, exciting, fascinating, wonderful—and I’m very grateful for it; but in describing the actual daily, bodily experience, that’s the word that first

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Space of Things” by Jacinta Escudos

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It’s often said that writers must be willing to be cruel to their characters, lest the story they tell lack drama or stakes. In “The Space of Things” (The Cossack Review), Jacinta Escudas (Translated by Samantha Memi) offers a different take on the cold realities of the writer/protagonist relationship.

Do-Overs: Text Redux

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I love art from other art. Ballets inspired by narratives. Garments influenced by architecture. Paintings that translate sound into color. Recognizable connections light up our synapses. We like things that remind us of other things, particularly if the connections are clever. (How else do you explain the popularity of

The Things I Haven’t Read

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Legend had it that a famous scholar of nineteenth century American literature visited my college to lecture, and someone asked him a question about Melville. He began his answer with “While I’ve never read Moby-Dick…” At this remove, I still question the man’s scholarship and sanity—but I do admire his

STEAL THIS STUFF: What Writers Can Learn from Over the Rhine

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Okay Writers. If you’ve been tucked safely away from Great Music over the last two decades, you may be new to the “aggressively beautiful” music of Over the Rhine. Today, the husband/wife duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist are invading my column, not just because they’re critically acclaimed songwriters—but because,

Surrealist Writing Rule with Comic Addendum

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In my last couple of years at the University of Houston, I twice got the chance to teach an undergraduate creative writing class with Antonya Nelson. The students were all hand-picked and their talents ran over them like… You know those scenes where the horses on a stage coach