Essay, Issue #4


And, I love him. I love the way he fills a room, the way he chews at problems. I renew the B— Street lease: it will be the first time since O was born that I’ve stayed in one place for longer than a year. The house grows. B brings his belongings, his friends, his ideas, his stories, and the house inhales—the outside world comes further in than I’ve ever let it before.

Essay, Issue #4


But there is nothing as enthralling as finding fossils in rock close to the sea, with the sun and the breeze, where they have lain for millennia, offering a kind of material connection to an ancient past. As I look and look and trace shapes with my fingers, I imagine all the fossils that lie unseen, set back into those unwieldy crumbling low cliffs of Lyme, fossils that may not be revealed for many years, perhaps never.

Essay, Issue #4

Up and Down: On Movement, Access and Sydney’s Stairways

The brick apartment block where I live has a set of stairs and despite their mildly bleak nature, I like them because they lead to a space that is temporarily mine. They are made of stained concrete slats and the gap between each step draws my eyes downwards. I sneak looks into the downstairs apartments through the safety of the slats, observing my neighbours’ dirty clothes strewn across the floor, dusty knick-knacks, the flickering of a television screen, a low wooden coffee table, an unhealthy potplant.

The Literary Acoustics of Marlon James: Hearing Loss, the Noisy Novel, and A Brief History of Seven Killings

The audiologist might ask you how you feel about spending three grand on a set of hearing aids, and you might tell them you intend to explore other options, such as getting more of your sonic satisfaction from words. To find a new way of appreciating sound without bothering my ears, I began to assemble the list of what might be called Sonic Fiction, the Literature of the Ear, or the Noisy Novel. And Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, a novel saturated with sound and explicitly concerned with hearing and listening, comes very close to taking the title of ‘the noisiest novel ever’.

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.

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?

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