1. Writers drink. Writers rant. Writers phone. Writers sleep.

    I often wonder about the people who linger over trash baskets at the corners of the city’s sidewalks. One sees them day and night, young and old, well dressed, in rags—often with shopping bags—picking over the trash. They pick out newspapers, envelopes. They discard things. I often wonder who they are and what they’re after. I approach and cannot ask them. Anyway, they scurry off. Sometimes I think they are writers who do not write. That “writers write” is meant to be self-evident. People like to say it. I find it is hardly ever true. Writers drink. Writers rant. Writers phone. Writers sleep. I have met very few writers who write at all.

    —from Speedboat, Renata Adler 


  2. if i would leave myself behind: novella and stories by Lauren Becker

    I’ve been reading Lauren Becker’s stories for years. They are tiny and moving and lovely. They remind me of myself in ways that make me uncomfortable. Her stories turn ugliness and unhappiness into something more, which is often why I write, too. There is still ugliness and unhappiness but writing is a way to transform these things, even if it is a small and insufficient way. 

    This sounds super depressing. I don’t mean it that way. I really don’t. 

    Here are a few of my favorite stories from her collection, and virtually everything she’s ever written is in here so you should buy it so you can have them all: 

    "Merrily, Merrily" 


    "Five Ways" 

    "Independent Living" 

    "His Days" 

    My very favorite story isn’t online. It’s called “The Apple Dress” and it’s in Pank 5. You might have that issue sitting on a shelf somewhere. If you do, you should find it and read it.

    You can buy if i would leave myself behind  here


  3. This is one of my very favorite flashes ever. 


    Let’s say things stop working out for you. Lets say you run out of money in a city that doesn’t know you, and the only job they find you is killing dogs on the night shift. Your car dies. Your apartment is not quite far enough from the shelter. That distant sound of barking dogs is amplified by…


  4. The Art of Fiction XVI

    Thornton Wilder, from The Art of Fiction XVI

    I think I write in order to discover on my shelf a new book which I would enjoy reading, or to see a new play that would engross me. That is why the first months of work on a new project are so delightful: you see the book already bound, or the play already produced, and you have the illusion that you will read or see it as though it were a work by another that will give you pleasure.


  5. at what point


    do you start referring to your own book as a ‘cult hit’ in bios? earnestly want to know. lol.


  6. Farm Life

    My boyfriend lives on a farm. He farms soybeans and corn. The deer like to eat his crops. We hate the deer.

    The corn is so high and pretty and it’s tasseling right now and we walk through his land and he stops to peel a piece and we each take a bite. Then he chucks the remainder into the rows and rows, so far you can’t see.

    I follow him, watching the sweat pattern on his back. It looks like a butterfly, I tell him, like a Rorschach butterfly but a little girl would say it looks like a banana because they only see bananas. And then, a few minutes later, the butterfly is gone and it’s nothing I can identify.

    What’s it look like now? he asks.

    You know how a cloud looks like a perfect sheep and then it moves and looks like nothing but you keep trying to make it look like something? It’s like that. And I feel like I’m being too metaphorical, like I’m trying too hard, but he says he knows.

    After that he takes his shirt off.

    I watch my feet, wondering if I’ll see a snake, if one could bite through the leather of my boot. I try not to think about snakes because thinking about them so hard might make one appear. I look at the birds and the chickens that roam the property during the day and go back to their coop at night (if they don’t get eaten by coyotes). It is very dangerous out here for a chicken, my boyfriend tells me.

    Though I’ve spent most of my life in Mississippi, I have never known farm life. I’ve never known what it’s like to pick blueberries and put them in my yogurt in the morning, to pour honey over the yogurt that a backyard hive has produced. What’s a Mississippi girl good for if she doesn’t have much of an accent and has never lived on a farm? If she’s rejected these things her whole life, same as she’s rejected Faulkner and Welty, Elvis and the blues?

    As a kid I used to wonder why I was born here. Out of all of the places, I thought, why here? I would think about the prettiest, most popular girls in my class and find contentment in the fact that they had been born here, too. And on the weekends we’d drive over to Tallulah, Louisiana, where my cousins and grandmother lived, and I would think, Yes, God, yes. You knew exactly what you were doing.