The Fire Says

What might it mean to be drawn into meanings that, in some profound and necessary sense, shatter us? Christian Wiman: My Bright Abyss (2013) At six years old, distant enough from the ground to realize that you can connect the closely seen and the far away, the detail and an extension of details, I began… More

Imaging Figures #4

Thinking of one of Cezanne’s still lifes, say his Pommes of 1878-1882–which John Maynard Keynes bought “on his own behalf” after purchasing, for the National Gallery, nineteen works from the Degas collection auctioned in Paris in March 1918–I am reminded of its disembarkation-tale, which Quentin Bell reports in “A Cezanne in the Hedge” (1992, 138).… More

Spring Grows Prose

“What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.” ― Kobayashi Issa, Poems As of March 20th, we have officially entered the spring season. And while it is still disarmingly chilly and dreary in the northeast portion of the United States that I roam, the beginning buds in the trees and points of crocuses… More

Jude, Still Obscure

The New York Times reports on a new study showing that high-achieving, working-class students are shunning elite schools (an unnamed list of “the 238 most selective colleges”) in favor of regional universities and community colleges. The study finds that many such students are unaware of these elite colleges, since they’re not likely to have met… More

(Interlude: Essay-Story #2)

The world we are born into is not the one we leave. Mary Ruefle: Madness, Rack, and Honey, 243, 2012. 1938’s Marie Antoinette burbles up another ball scene on the television aspark in a corner of the bedroom, the one to the right of the wall of windows looking out, if windows, like eyes, could… More

(Interlude: Essay-Story #1)

Dr Siegel says You’ve tested negative, and you imagine that the hook hidden in his mouth pierces through each word: his bottom lip sticks against his teeth on negative, as though he could hardly bear to let it go. But Dr. Siegel is like that with words. You remember–when you came before–the particular kind of… More

Reading for the Pleasure of Purpose

An agent friend of mine told me long ago that the best way to learn how to write well was to “read well” – meaning read quality stories, books, perhaps even recipes with nutritious ingredients rather than artificial additives. Unfortunately, I took this advice as the agent “stating the obvious,” thinking it impossible not to… More

The Pleasures of Philosophy

So, when I wrote on reading drama, I was perhaps too optimistic. When I said that drama is a break from prose fiction and that it can be read more quickly, I didn’t take into account that drama, like, I suppose, all genres, can get repetitive. I made the mistake of reading only one author,… More