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Archive for September, 2007

Tao Lin

What do I like?

September 30th, 2007
by Tao Lin


I like to type about things that I like. I like music.

I think I need to type 250 words before I can post a link. That is how this site works. I don’t know. I’ll type about food that I like. I like acorn squash. I like acorn squash in olive oil and sesame seed salt substitute. I like mallomars from Pure Food and Wine. I like coconut water. I like mashed potatos from Angelica Kitchen. I like the desserts at Angelica Kitchen. I like figs. I like bananas. 

Dan Wickett

Democracy in Reviewing?

September 29th, 2007
by Dan Wickett


Does anybody else out there find themselves subconsciously jumping from publisher to publisher when reading and reviewing titles? I say subconsciously because, while typically pretty anal about things, creating lists and whatnot, when it comes to selecting the next title I’m going to read, I just wing it. Walk over to the shelf, or one of the many boxes or piles strewn about the house and try to determine what looks good.


Eric Spitznagel

Memories of Punctuation: The Comma

September 29th, 2007
by Eric Spitznagel


My introduction to the tyranny of grammar came from an unlikely place. In my senior year of high school, I wrote a semi-fictional short story for my girlfriend. It was about us, or at least a couple that vaguely resembled us, if we were ten years older, considerably more well-read and regulars at fashionable Manhattan bars. It was a piece of crap, not to mention a total rip-off of Woody Allen. But I’d cast her in the Annie Hall role, so I thought she’d look past the obvious plagiarisms and appreciate the sentiment.


Todd Zuniga

My Great Life, Episode 1

September 29th, 2007
by Todd Zuniga


On my way to the airport—a flight to London—I decide to detour to the Levi’s store and risk missing my flight. There I buy a new pair of jeans for a trip that will land me in London for 10 days, then on to Croatia (Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik), Bosnia (Sarajevo) and Serbia (Belgrade) for two days each. I find the perfect pair; the new jeans fill me with delight, the best Japanese denim $189 can buy. Time warps, traffics desists. I arrive at the airport early


Zoe Brock


September 27th, 2007
by Zoe Brock


The greatest gift my mother ever gave me was the gift of knowing I was loved.
In a cruel and often scary world this one fact gives me peace.

Perhaps I am biased, but I think my mama is beautiful, even in a plastic garbage bag.



Mary Otis

When Writing is an Emergency

September 26th, 2007
by Mary Otis


In third grade I pass a note to Billy Stavory, who sits in front of me in penmanship class.  The note says:

    Do you like me?

    Do you love me?

    Or what?

    Please check one.

It is the first time I write something necessary and high stakes - an emotional emergency.  But Billy Stavory is worth it. He is the best reader in class, and although he occasionally gargles his milk, Billy Stavory is reported to have once swallowed a moth.  A moth that lived and flew back out his mouth.  Billy Stavory has character. (more…)

Amy Bryant

Rock of Love: The Drinking Game

September 26th, 2007
by Amy Bryant



The season finale of Rock of Love, starring gone-to-pot hair-metal star Bret Michaels, is on this Sunday night. I haven’t seen every episode, and I haven’t played a drinking game since college, but I’ve seen enough to know that this show is crying out to be turned into a drinking game.

One reason for that is Bret is a drinker. I know this partly because he makes a point of mentioning it every 6.2 minutes; and partly because, according to him, the women who have been competing for his affections are “25 of the most beautiful women on the planet,” something a sober person would never say about this crew. (more…)

R Kent

Ngorongoro: Living Dangerously in the Crater, Pt I of III

September 24th, 2007
by R Kent

By R Kent


On the first night on the crater, the gods sent us the spear.

We did not understand their message until the second night.

By then, it was too late.

The sun was going down that first night, and it was already cold on Ngorongoro Crater.

Africa is hot, but there are places, even here in Tanzania just below the equator, where Africa is bitterly cold.

The rim of Ngoronogoro, several thousand feet above sea level, is one such place.

Nighttime temperatures dip into the 40s, and campers wear ski jackets and sleep in down sleeping bags to protect themselves from the cold winds whipping at their canvas tents.

The lovely Isabelle and I had just completed our second of five days on safari, and newly arrived to Simba Camp overlooking the crater, we decided to walk about before dinner.

As darkness approached, we were in the brush, just a stone’s throw from the edge of camp, when I found the spear. (more…)

Lance Reynald

This Isn’t Nordstroms or The Sofa Has Seen Worse Than What You Just Offered

September 23rd, 2007
by Lance Reynald



Fear not, dear readers, I’ve not fallen off the edges of the earth. I’ve been deep in a cave commonly known as Manuscript. (more…)

Rebecca Adler

Californians Have Nothing On Parisian Drivers

September 23rd, 2007
by Rebecca Adler


California is fairly notorious for having really aggressive drivers and a lot of traffic.

But after three weeks of driving in Paris I have to say, Californians are sissy drivers by comparison.

Our problem: we’re too law-abiding.

It’s not so much a problem really. I rather enjoyed the comparably chaos-free driving I experienced in California. There weren’t horns honking at 6 a.m., waking up the entire neighborhood, because a moving van is double-parked in the middle of an already barely wide enough one way street.

You never have to worry that if you go down a street you’ll find it blocked and be forced to drive in reverse down the entire length of the street and look for another route to your desired destination.

But in Paris these things happen more often than anyone would believe. (more…)

Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Did I Receive a Taco-Holding Lesson in My Highchair and Forgot? How Do You Teach Someone to Hold a Taco Anyway?

September 22nd, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet


Being an American is about more than knowing how to sing the national anthem–even if we can’t hit that high note). 

More than being able to defend baseball as a game worth watching–even though not much happens.

It’s about knowing how to hold a taco–even if we don’t know how we do it. (more…)

Tao Lin

What Are Some Comics That I Like?

September 22nd, 2007
by Tao Lin


I will list some comics that I like and then write descriptions of them in the style of 9th grade AP American History definition lists.

Clumsy by Jeffrey Brown - It is about a person in his second relationship of his life with another person, a girl. The person is in his mid-20s. It shows many scenes from their relationship, not in order. In the last scene the person is happy. In the second-to-last it shows the person crying on the phone and then it shows the person crying alone sitting on his bed. I cried a little standing in the subway station when I finished reading this. 

Rebecca Schiffman

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

September 22nd, 2007
by Rebecca Schiffman


My name is Rebecca Schiffman.  This summer I spent a month in Paris.  In the third week, my subscription was due to expire and I wrote down the names of all the restaurants I still wanted to try.  The first was Le Petit Marché.  One night, after seeing The Simpsons Movie (in English) at The Forum des Halles, I walked over to Rue de Béarn and found a well-lit, very small and very packed restaurant.  The host saw me and yelled pityingly “Vous êtes toute seule!” and  seated me at a small two-person table practically connected to the next table where a young couple sat.  The host said to them “She’s alone.  She’s American.”


The New Rules

September 21st, 2007
by Tod Goldberg



Every fall, I reassess the rules I have for the writing workshops I teach. A few stay constant: no use of the word theme, no air quotes, no use of the word motif, no use of the word vis-a-vis unless you’re a citizen of France, no use of the sentence “but that’s how it really happened!” unless you’re explaining why the threesome involving you and Clinton & Stacy from What Not to Wear is physically (and psychically) accurate, no crying, no saying “your short story would make a great novel/movie/pop up book/Choose Your Own Adventure/Cinemax After Dark series,” no use of the terms “POD is the future” and “but John Grisham self-published his first novel,” and, finally, no adverbs in dialog tags.


Doug Mulliken

The Worst Thing About Going to Harvard is Having to Convince Everyone You Meet that You’re not an Asshole

September 21st, 2007
by Doug Mulliken

Los Angeles-

The name of this post is actually something Conan O’Brien told me when I met him one day while I was working in a bike shop on the Upper West Side in 2002.

Kaytie M. Lee

In Which I Provide Pictures to Prove the Ginormous Fruit Bats in Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens Were Not a Drug-Induced Hallucination, Except Maybe the Dachshund Part

September 20th, 2007
by Kaytie M. Lee


You may recall, if you have a long memory, that I was coming down with a cold just before we made the jump from New Zealand to Australia.


Jen Burke

These Were Summers: A Meditation, Part I

September 20th, 2007
by Jen Burke


Certain places can be as random but particular as the procession of faces on the subway.

These are places from summers, places that branded themselves into my brain, landing in my memories viscerally.

I don’t see these places in my mind’s eye as much as my body feels them again - the intensity of the wind or sun, the smell of garbage, the feel of unwashed clothing, the strangeness of chairs holding warmth from an unknown person’s body.


Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

The World Spins Madly On - I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know That, Did You?

September 19th, 2007
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt



I woke up this morning and seriously considered staying in bed.


Rich Ferguson

Grow Wings or Cease To Be…

September 17th, 2007
by Rich Ferguson



Screams, lights, tattoo, lemonade, sixteen:

She pulls at the rust-red lever of the amusement park ride. Muscles rise beneath her summer-beaten skin. She looks to the sky. Sees me in her ghostly roller coaster. I can feel the pressure of all things as I ascend.

Lemonade, sixteen, screams


Grant Bailie

In a Summer Place

September 17th, 2007
by Grant Bailie


There was a girl once, one vacation long ago.  A sort of second cousin, I think–the daughter of my older cousin’s husband by his first marriage which, now that I type it, seems like no relation at all.