In Praise of Irrelevance: Part I

Salvatore Scibona October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on February 25, 2010.

On Dialogue

Gary Amdahl October 1, 2013

This interview was conducted by Emily Cook and originally appeared on October 1, 2009

Do you consider yourself to be a dramatic sort of person?

Yes, but not dramatic in a good way—the way, say, someone is who risks his life for a common good, to save the life of a drowning child, or who takes an unpopular but principled stand on a moral issue at a critical moment. Or even a tragic hero who makes a terrible mistake and pays a terrible price. Dramatic rather in a bad way.

After the Wreck: On Historical Fictions and Fictional Histories

Naomi J. Williams October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on October 8, 2009.

Everyone likes a shipwreck story. I’m certainly not the first writer to be drawn to the La Pérouse expedition, an ill-fated voyage of exploration that left France in 1785 with two frigates under the command of Jean-François de Galaup de La Pérouse, and disappeared three years later in the South Pacific. Part of the early mystique of the La Pérouse story, of course, was that for almost forty years no one knew what had become of the expedition. It’s always a boon to fictionalizers when people disappear into thin air.

Minor Aspirations and Mock Debate

Charles Newman October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on September 29, 2009.

There are two kinds of magazines—those which fascinate with nouns, and those which delight in verbs. The former are more proper: dealing modestly with time and life, they assert rather than explain; to sell things, they name things. The latter, more common, more active, tend to make a statement, ask a question, give a command. Their tenses are generally more progressive and less tangible. This is a perfect situation for dialectic, but there isn’t one.

Alone in Abu Tor

October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on April 9, 2009.

A couple of years ago I found myself working as an artist on a new animated film being made overseas. Although the movie's creators were Californian, the money behind the film was Israeli, and the principal investor had a much cherished vision of creating a vibrant arts and culture hub in the unlikely location of Jerusalem. Dour, Stoney, Combustible, Contested Jerusalem.

The Inn at St. John

Sara Majka October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on August 17, 2009.

Years ago, I became fascinated with a hotel in Portland, Maine, though I’m not sure why. The Inn at St. John is a basic hotel near the bus station, not gritty enough to explain my fascination. I’ve never been in, but pictures on the website show velvet curtains and furniture that’s meant to look Victorian. Quotes promise that it’s "comfortable and a good value" and “CLEAN!” It offers three room tiers: pet-friendly rooms, economically priced rooms for extended visits, or romantic luxury accommodations for weekend getaways. If you want any of these things, it says, the hotel is exactly what you’re looking for.

Writing Home: Checking in from Sandpoint

Keith Lee Morris October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on November 25, 2008.

Thomas Wolfe couldn't go home and William Faulkner couldn't seem to leave very successfully and Ernest Hemingway seemed to be looking for some lost idea of it everywhere and T.S. Eliot apparently found it about five minutes after arriving in England, becoming even paler and more prunish and speaking with an accent, and then you've got Annie Proulx who seems to feel so right at home just about anywhere she is that she can't get a pen in her hand fast enough to suit her, and there's Eudora Welty who says home is where everything begins, really, in whatever little place, to which someone like James Baldwin might say, Yeah, right, it does, and isn't that a bitch, and then F. Scott Fitzgerald comes along and trumps them all by pointing out how home is not just a place, but a place in time, how we're all borne (born?) ceaselessly into the past.

You Can’t Say That!

Keith Lee Morris October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on October 18, 2008.

I'm from north Idaho and most of my fiction is set there, so last month I met up with several old friends in my hometown of Sandpoint.

Adventures for the Contemporary Explorer

Keith Lee Morris October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on August 14, 2008.

I was sitting in the living room the other night trying to get through Middlemarch, the same thing I’ve been doing for most of this decade, and my ten-year-old son and his buddy kept interrupting to ask questions as part of this game they were playing. One of them would say, “Where do you want to go?” and the other one would say, “Georgia,” and the first one would say, “Which direction is it?” and the other one would point, and the first one would say, “Dad/Mr. Morris, what direction is Georgia?” and I would pretend I knew and point in the opposite direction from whoever pointed first, and then they’d go, “Ha! Told you! You couldn’t make it to Georgia!” Then they’d start over with Kentucky.

The Last Lamppost in the World

Bill Manhire October 1, 2013

This interview was conducted by Tracey Hill and originally appeared on July 31, 2007.

How did you become interested in Antarctica?

Well, I was born in Invercargill--called by Rudyard Kipling "the last lamppost in the world"--so I grew up knowing that if I got in a small boat and rowed south for a very long time, I would eventually bump into an iceberg. But my sense of Antarctica was probably shaped by the heroic explorers.

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