Tin House

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer."

Zora Neale Hurston (via observando)

A Crush by Nicole Lacy

Gary and I were going to make love. For several weeks, I planned to linger after the bell rang with the excuse of needing help with homework. Once my classmates filtered out, I’d saunter up to his desk just as he was preparing to score our worksheets on the multiplication tables. As his back tensed and breath quickened, I’d finally make my move.

Every morning I dabbed the Jovan musk that Grandma bought from Kmart behind each ear, certain that the glandular scent of an endangered deer would work its magic quickly – the aphrodisiac transforming us both into hypersexual machines within minutes.

Gary was my third grade teacher. Facing away from the class as he wrote on the blackboard, my eight-year old eyes traced the outline of the muscles underneath his khakis. He had a beautiful ass. He also had a vast array of ties in a conservative diagonal stripe, and a compact body no taller than 5’8. He was my first love, aside from Michael Jackson.

For as much as I dreamed about what might happen after I approached him, I really wasn’t sure what was supposed to come next. I lacked an accurate idea of the parts that existed under a man’s clothes, so was left to improvise. I visualized his tightly cupped bottom, tanned and oddly oily, much like the ass of “Macho Man” Randy Savage of the World Wrestling Federation. What I pictured in front resembled a Ken doll’s amorphous mound of flesh, and on occasion, my imagination decided to throw in a vagina.

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An Interview with Martha Baillie, author of The Search for Heinrich Schlögel

Tin House Books: For me, one of the most wonderful aspects of The Search for Heinrich Schlögel is the bits of ephemera—there are letters, journal entries, a map, a newspaper clipping. How did the book itself originate? Were you inspired by an image or a quote or a bit of ephemera like those that appear in the book?

Martha Baillie: This novel began with chaos and numerous questions. I’d been thinking a lot about ideas of “North.” I’d been reading about the Department of Indian Affairs, the interest of the Hudson’s Bay Company, early on, in creating a population chronically indebted, the relocating of people, the shooting of sled dogs, the establishment of residential schools. Then, hiking in the Rockies, I crossed paths with a German photographer intent on capturing the sublime. It occurred to me that I might turn the tables, have a European become a “primitive,” a potential object of scrutiny, someone considered out of sync with the flow of time. My European, yanked from the twentieth century and weirdly deposited in the twenty-first, deeply disoriented, might meet up with an Internet-nimble Inuit teenager. I knew about Abraham Ulrikab, the Inuk from Labrador, displayed in the Berlin zoo in 1880.

Right away, I decided that Heinrich Schlögel’s life would be pieced together by a stranger gathering evidence of the sort you mention: letters, journal entries, newspaper clippings. W. G. Sebald’s works are never far from my consciousness.

The Canadian artist Spring Hurlbut released her father’s ashes into the air, allowed them to fall onto a dark background, and took a photograph. The ashes look like a nebula: a perfect novel—the story all there and the story missing. This novel is not a nebula, though it’s full of suspended ephemera. It has a definite direction, because the last scene, which is a surprise, came to me first and I had to get there.

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Trick Candles By Andrew Mitchell

ix candles on the chocolate cake, one for each of Sherman Moon’s years, and as Mrs. Moon carries the cake into the dining room, Mr. Moon says, “Don’t tell us your wish, son.” Sherman closes his eyes. Then the candles are extinguished in a blitz of his breath and saliva. “I’ll get a knife,” Mrs. Moon says. But the wicks ignite again—six sprouts of fire on six wax stems. Sherman gasps. “Look at that!” Mr. Moon says. He glances at his wife and grins. Sherman inhales deeply, his chin pointing up at the ceiling, and blows so hard it’s as if he’s trying to inflate the room another three sizes. Mr. Moon clutches the table, leans back in his chair, pretends to almost blow away. “Those lungs!” he cries.

The candles spark back to life.

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Nice shout-out for The Other Side in The Cleveland Plain Dealer!

"[The Other Side is] a powerful memoir." —Cleveland Plain Dealer

Read the review here

"All he said lately was that God, if he even existed, was too big a concept to fit into his head."

Darcey Steinke, Sister Golden Hair (via specialedition87)

50 Essays Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

"Documents,” Charles D’Ambrosio

Recommended by Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

“You could call Charles D’Ambrosio’s essay “Documents” a piece of memoir, an act of urgent fraternal curiosity, a parade of ghosts — and it’s all of these, but formally it’s really a series of close-readings connected by deep grooves of loss. D’Ambrosio examines texts written by his father and his troubled brothers — including letters, a suicide note, and a fanciful poem — in order to meditate on the intimacies and ruptures that have structured his family. As is the nature of his brilliance, D’Ambrosio resists conclusions. He honors the complexity embedded in his grief—not always a source of solace, but ultimately a powerful kind of tribute.”

"In my twenties I realized that the muse is a bum. The muse only shows up when you bait her by putting your ass in the chair. She can only be lured to your side by the sound of pounding keys, the smell of paper and ink. At some point (I imagine it was when the telephone company cut off our service) I realized it was time for me to start taking my life and my writing seriously. People who are serious about their work show up to work, day or night. So I started setting myself little goals and deadlines. That helped. When I had a project I was excited about, I was manic. I worked mornings, afternoons, nights—whenever I could steal the time. I became infatuated with my writing, obsessed, in love. Perfection was writing all day in bed until I was spent. When it was going exceptionally well, any time I wasn’t writing I was thinking about writing. It was bliss. Until, of course, it burned out, or blew up sometimes with the same degree of passion with which it had begun. All it took was time and distance, some sleep and a few square meals, and suddenly I couldn’t stand it."

An Interview with Elissa Schappell, by Maria Gagliano

(via fiftykorbust)

Don’t Drink and Write



Thursday night and the local tavern trembles with the pops of bottle tops and clamor of billiard balls. Boys in Birkenstocks and socks chat up girls with exaggerated cat eyes. Craft beer runs from the reservoir like an amber fountain against a backdrop of polished oak. It’s all very…


You read: THE OTHER SIDE by Lacy Johnson
Your teen reads: THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Mathieu
Bond while discussing: Sexual consent and why it’s vitally important, bullying and how it contributes to rape culture.


An Italian mobile library. Wouldn’t it be cool to have one of these in your own community?


An Italian mobile library. Wouldn’t it be cool to have one of these in your own community?

(via good)

"A thinking woman sleeps with monsters."

Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law, Adrienne Rich (via fromliterature)


Gilles Peress, Donna Tartt, New York City, 1993.


Gilles Peress, Donna Tartt, New York City, 1993.

(Source: henridecorinth, via blackballoonpublishing)


Just remember: even Sylvia Plath got rejection letters. Keep writing. 


Just remember: even Sylvia Plath got rejection letters. Keep writing. 

(Source: theparisreview)