Nouns XIX

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I.  Let’s start off with some poetry, shall we?  Natalie Diaz will shake your bones, tear open your wounds, whisper in your ear — she will remind you why we keep on living in her poem “The Cure for Melancholy is to Take the Horn” at The Paris-American

II. And now, some fiction, complete with Bob Dylan (my 4 year old daughter’s favorite).  Over at Luna Luna, In 272 words Jill Talbot will take you to bed, to a show, to dinner, to a bookstore, and deep into the pit of missing. “…the way the notes of our laughter picked up in the dark when we moved together.”

III. To read more from Jill, here’s an insightful interview over at the MSU blog, Write Brained.  “I run down into the self or the moment or the memory that is most often the darkest and difficult of what I carry, what I must bear.”

IV. Here is some nonfiction at Vela by the always poignant Chelsea Biondolillo featuring vultures, doubt, and snippets of Maggie Nelson.  “I try asking myself/the room, “Just what is your problem?” The blackbirds on the other side of the screen door have a lot to say as they fight over a piece of pakora I threw them earlier, but nothing illuminating. I hear: This is just some passing flu, an ebb in the romance. This consolation is disingenuous and I know it.” 

V.  While you are at Vela, make sure to check out Maggie Nelson’s nonfiction list of writers to read.  I found at least 6 more books to read.

VI.  If you don’t have time to read whole books right now because the kids are crying or you have deadlines hanging from floss on the ceiling above you or the world is just too much with you — don’t fear, the brilliant literary journal Cheap Pop has stories you can read in a flash. Micro-fiction!  It’s brilliant and really, so many stories can be told in the time it takes to sigh. Bookmark, read, live, repeat.

VII.  “She served the people, and she served in the way that she knew best.”  There’s a lot to learn from Patti Smith about creating, living, and loving in this interview at cuepoint

VIII.  A new perspective on photographing poverty, on telling the stories of others.

IX.  Here’s a story: a family lives apart from the modern world for 40 years in the cold depths of Russia.

X.  Now try and go build a home on the ocean floor with Brad Modlin’s piece, “They’ll Try Again Tomorrow” over at Proximity

XI.  “It’s a little spooky to realize how porous the personality is in writing, porous or just plain incontinent, leaking out everywhere, so that things get revealed even when—or especially when—you haven’t given them much conscious thought. It’s a good reminder that you don’t have to indulge in a goopy confessional mode to write a personal essay—you’re more mysterious than you know, more naked than you imagine, and whether you intend it or not you’re going to be exposed.” Read the full interview with Charles D’Ambrosio over at The New Yorker.  (Another quote from him here.)

XII.  This, friends, this: “So we tell it slant. So we hold up masks that match our skin, or ones wildly different. So every person we see holds up the one they think fits us best, but it doesn’t always flatter. So we choose to destroy them, or don’t. So we wear them for a while but rip them off. So we use every mask, or none at all, or half of one.”  Go read Michael Schmeltzer’s whole piece on persona, race, and identity at Brevity‘s blog.  Do we tell it slant to keep us safe? 

XIII.  Finally, for this week, head over to Brain Pickings and read the brilliant Maria Popova’s “Some Thoughts on Hope, Cynicism, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves” … “Yes, people sometimes do horrible things, and we can speculate about why they do them until we run out of words and sanity. But evil only prevails when we mistake it for the norm. There is so much goodness in the world — all we have to do is remind one another of it, show up for it, and refuse to leave.”

PS — The artwork above is a watercolor by Francois-Henri Galland…more here.

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