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,

Dreaming of Freedom and Horse Thieves

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson My ancestors emigrated from Sweden to Minsk sometime in the eighteenth century, most likely to escape restrictive anti-Jewish property laws. But there’s a legend in my family that accounts for the move differently. According to the story, which is usually told with a smirk

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

Like Fire on My Skin

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson The first time I saw Be Here to Love Me, the documentary about songwriter Townes Van Zandt, I was in rough shape. This was in 2005. I’d recently gone through a devastating break-up, which left me reeling and broke, living in an attic apartment

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

Silverstein, Shel, Surprising Encounters With

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe A favorite story of mine that my boyfriend, Cree, tells is how, at age ten, he and some friends found an abandoned stash of Playboy magazines. While marveling at the nude women in that ’70s soft focus lens work, he was shocked to find

A Writer’s Envy, Part VI: Coda–Orpheus on TV

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson   By now it’s probably obvious that when I’m talking about envy, I’m really talking about influence. I want to learn from the visual artists I admire so much. I want to seek our common ground, to discover what we share, to strive toward

A Writer’s Envy, Part VI: Coda–Orpheus on TV

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson By now it’s probably obvious that when I’m talking about envy, I’m really talking about influence. I want to learn from the visual artists I admire so much. I want to seek our common ground, to discover what we share, to strive toward what

Eddie Johnson’s Indian Summer

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  Guest post by Carol Keeley   Chicago has lost another tenor sax great.¬†Eddie Johnson was eighty-nine. He played up until 2004, when his sweet swinging horn gave way to emphysema. Like many Chicago jazzicians, Eddie chose family over the perils of road life and fame. He had an

Anais to Kansas

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe My adolescence was difficult. I was utterly confused, depressed, and lonely. I had braces and was so vain that I refused to wear the glasses I desperately needed. My parents didn’t understand me, my teachers didn’t understand me, and I still had to share