writing Archive

The Art of the Twitter Essay

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Twitter is maybe one of the most ideal places to watch a draft shape itself into a finished essay—a public place for us to learn the bones.

Disappearing Acts: On Wilderness and Writing

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Most people get lost accidentally, a few get lost by necessity. There is hardly a story more compelling to me than the latter—that of the individual so primordially unsatisfied with civilization that wilderness is their only consolation.

On Movement: the Writer as Walker

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Many writers have explored the pleasures of walking, including the likes of Virginia Woolf and Amy Hempel. There is a whole canon that depicts and analyzes the connection between moving through geographical terrains and mental ones.

Why the Girl Rules the World

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It’s hard not to notice the word girl writ large on book covers and film posters everywhere. It’s also tough to ignore the flurry of opinions on whether titular appropriation of the word is sexist and offensive or just smart marketing. Turns out the word is surprisingly flexible.

Stories are Never Neutral: Disability, Representation, and Autonomous Press

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From childhood, we’re taught to see ourselves as others see us. We learn to synthesize “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” into a whole through a complex process of self-identification. We see who and what we’re taught to see, a looping phenomena that means we’re literally made up of story.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Raymond Carver and Jonathan Durbin

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Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” is the classic titular story in his collection published in 1981. The original story, entitled “Beginners,” was famously edited by Gordon Lish, and it is longer, containing more hope and introspection.

Planetary Poetry

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It’s a comet, no it’s a planet, no it’s not a planet, yes it is. What is it about Pluto that so draws us to it? Is it that Pluto is so far away? Or is it just that we always pull for the underdog? Over the past few

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query VI

This is the fourth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here, here and here. ** Query VI: “Productions mineral, vegetable and animal” A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.

Writ in Water: Interview with Chris McCormick and “Desert Boys”

This month, I chat with author Chris McCormick, whose terrific debut of linked stories, Desert Boys, follows main character Daley “Kush” Kushner and his friends Robert Karinger and Dan Watts. The book is largely set in the growing desert suburbia of the Antelope Valley, 70-odd miles north of Los

On Failure: Being a Writer Who Translates and a Translator Who Writes

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I spent a large part of last spring working in coffee shops all around the Finger Lakes region with a group of writers. One of them had published several novels; another had just signed with an agent and was making revisions to her novel-in-progress; the others were working on