Essays

Lazy Storytelling, Rory Gilmore, and Why Fictional Women Should Write More Than Their Autobiographies

The benefits of women taking and using their authentic voices to tell their stories from a place of authority are far-reaching and largely very positive. But when we box women writers into a selective space that disallows exploration of themes, subjects, and topics outside of memoir, we open the door to women writers only to shut them into the foyer.

A Review of Nicholas John Turner’s ‘Hang Him When He Is Not There’

How we approach a short story, any story, influences our interaction with the text, where pre-reading judgements affect the intercourse between the author and reader. My approach to this collection was of a reader expecting to notice characteristics of the archetypal short story. As I immersed myself into the act of reading, I experienced subtle and then significant movement from being resistant to being enticed by the author’s voice and style.

Remembering Forgetting with Lydia Davis

Davis has been called, dismissively, ‘a writer’s writer’s writer’, which gives the impression that her work exists somewhere on the ethereal edges of what can be enjoyed by the average person. It’s true that Davis’s prose is often very close to poetry in its meticulous attention to the verbal. But to dismiss this kind of writing as gratuitously abstruse, available only to other writers, is to ignore the true gift that Davis gives us in her work: the gift of noticing, or ‘vigilance’, as one of her Booker-prize judges called it.

The Houseplant Era

While houseplant culture is structured, in some ways, around highly conspicuous consumption (of pre-arranged pairings of designer pots and plants, sold at a suitable premium) and the chasing of trends, plants themselves can never be compelled to hold meaning in the way that man-made objects do. In a global marketplace teeming with functional alternatives, Warby Parker glasses or Nike sneakers or Gorman dresses gain, and threaten to lose, their cachet primarily based on what they signify – they are, as Patterson would put it, ‘complicated by questions of style’. Natural objects can never entirely fall in or out of fashion, in part because their forms both predate and will outlast us, and in part because they were never created ‘for’ us in the first place.



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Essay, Issue #2

Maternal Lines

As a dual citizen of dual hemispheres, you have two homes and two sets of seasons that directly oppose one another. You pause to think whenever you write the month because it’s cool in July and hot in December and you’ve lost yourself a little, in everything you’ve gained… When you had bought the DNA analysis package, you found such a collage of peoples, your genomes revealed spirals of passports. You saw people who did not stay put, whose songs and love affairs laced the planet.

New Fidelities

What do our choices (our likes) – as writers now, as makers – say, if anything, about how we see the world? In other words, do preferences around style speak to the ontologies to which we subscribe, knowingly or not? Does style (in the broadest sense here) betray our most pressing existential worries, our particular way of squirming and daring? And, as an upshot, does what we experience as the spoken or unspoken rules of writing (or of particular writing enclaves and positions on writing) have anything to do with power and politics?

A History of Rests

What did Christina Stead see when, in 1930, she left Paris – largely to avoid meeting the mother-in-law of her de-facto partner, William Blech, who, awkwardly, was married to someone else – for Salzburg, Austria, in order to attend a festival devoted to the work of Mozart, that city’s most famous son? The Salzburg Tales, published four years later, was based largely on her time there, and that book’s first word discloses to us in terms that could not be more literal what Stead saw when she arrived: ‘Salzburg’.

All The Love

While my generation grew up with 50 choices in the yoghurt aisle and encouragement of our individuality and personal freedom, we also grew up with the message of Disney films and romcoms and every manner of heteronormative texts which promised a particular ideal, that one day you would make the choice and would commit fully and become everything to one other person.

Endless Wars in Infinite Universes

Comic books, above all, trade in a kind of closed door policy – the long unknowable road of past narrative, which at this point in comic book history resembles a mirror now shattered into millions of shards. Back stories, alternate histories, side issues, spinoffs, retcons. At some point when writing anything like this there’s always a question you ask yourself: how much comic book lore do I discuss?

Memory As Collage

Neuroscientists have recently argued that when we remember something, we’re not recalling the original event, but the last time we remembered it. Each remembrance is an extra level of remove, spinning us further away from our actual lived experience. Eventually, what we remember might very well not resemble the experience at all… Within this framework, there are clear and understandable reasons why we remember things differently to those around us, aside from subjective experience. But how does this work when we’re referring back to solid ‘evidence’ while doing the remembering?

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