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.

A Letter from Antoine Wilson

Antoine Wilson October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2012.

Dear Fellow Reader,

Am I a typical A Public Space reader? I have no idea. I have a television; I watch it. I use the Internet as if it were a second television, boinging my way down the rabbit hole of “related” YouTube videos until I feel gutted through and through. I visit Disneyland; I shop at Target. That is to say, I haven’t sequestered myself in a hermitage or an ivory tower. I live a version of contemporary life in America. As a result, I often despair about our culture and where it’s headed. I recognize that this is typical, that people have always despaired over the decline of culture, that the youth have always been crass, as it were, but I feel it nevertheless, The Decline, and I despair. A Public Space has frequently lifted me from the depths of that despair.

A Letter from Teju Cole

Teju Cole October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2011.

Dear Reader,
A Public Space has become one of our most remarkable small magazines by being a forum for creativity, tolerance, experiment, and witness. Each piece in the magazine, whether written about domestic affairs or from an international point of view, underscores William Carlos Williams’s faith in the “universality of the local.”

A Letter from Amy Leach

Amy Leach October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2010.

Dear Fellow Reader,
I used to play the piano for an establishment where the roof began to leak. We had to cover the piano and drums and microphones with tarps and clutter the floor with buckets. New leaks were always springing, new buckets and bucket attendants always being drafted. The roof was repairable but we did not have the money for it; we had to close down and the music gave way to the rain. I found another job, but it was playing the organ instead of the piano, and I am an oaf on the organ; it sounds like I have shoes on my hands. Having a venue where you can play your own instrument is better than having wings. It should not be taken for granted.

A Letter from Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2009.

Dear Reader,
One of the questions I have been asked most often by aspiring writers is how I began to publish. Variations of the question hint at certain myths about the publishing business—how being at the right place at the right time, or having the right connection to the right people, would be the most important factor in one’s career.

A Letter from Wells Tower

Wells Tower October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2009.

Dear Fellow Reader,
My first stories made it into print not through the efforts of an agent or a publishing house, but because the slush pile readers at an independent literary magazine took the time to open the manila envelope I’d sent, unbidden, and to read the work according to its merit rather than the cachet of the writer’s name.

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