“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there—and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.”—“Ava Wrestles the Alligator,” St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Karen Russell (via everythingiread)
It turns out that there are all these hours before noon that you can use to do literally whatever you want. You can shower, and make your bed. You can eat a meal! They call it “breakfast.” It can involve sandwiches, if you want it to. You can even go outside!
You know when you’re perusing some new food blogs, bookmarking recipes, wondering whether one ought to put chocolate chips or raisins in one’s oatmeal cookies, and suddenly the writers of the food blogs hit you with a “This avocado and mango salsa is delicious and it’s all thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died for our sins!”? I begrudge no one their beliefs—truly!—but this has happened to me more than five times in the last month, and I don’t know what to make of it yet. And, equally importantly, can one put both chocolate chips and raisins into one’s oatmeal cookies?!?!
“The Brontës are well known authors with no apparent association with science fiction but their tiny manuscript books, held at the British Library, are one of the first examples of fan fiction, using favourite characters and settings in the same way as science fiction and fantasy fans now play in the detailed imaginary ‘universes’ of Star Trek or Harry Potter. While the sense of fantasy is strong, there are teasing examples of what might be called the beginnings of science fiction.”—The Brontës were such nerds.
“Young writers aren’t applying to MFA programs and sending their work to tiny journals read by a few hundred people because they think they’re going to be rich and famous. They aren’t stupid. They’re writing and publishing because they know that only through words on a page can they reach an audience without having to be rich or famous – or else cozy up to those who are – in the first place.”—Michael Bourne’s essay in The Millions both gently mocks Jonathan Franzen and acknowledges that I’m not stupid—my only two criteria for calling something a must-read.
I turned 15 in September 2001 and in my creative writing class we wrote down our feelings and the feelings were published in my high school’s “literary journal” and I don’t have a copy of that journal because the thing I wrote was essentially something like, “Dear Terrorists, [Some Sort of Florid Promise of Vengeance from a Passionate 15-Year-Old Who Sobbed in Front of Her Whole Class This Month], Sincerely, America” and by the time this was published (with many inexplicable typos), I was so embarrassed by it that when a friend asked me which piece was mine, I would not tell her. I was embarrassed because of the typos, but also I was embarrassed because it was so angry. I had been so angry. And by October, or whenever the “literary journal” was actually in my hands, the very depth of that anger was so alien to me that I was uncomfortable owning up to it. And this is relevant because I am embarrassed to be happy right now—not ecstatic, or anything, not going to set off any fireworks, not going to run any victory laps around the apartment—just a gentle pulse of satisfaction that I can’t help but find ugly in myself. Everything just gets more complicated, never less, but “his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity,” says my president, and I can try to get behind that cautious statement.