False Moves

Unselfconsciousness is covetable. We admire it in babies and seek to recover it as adults. But blackness is incompatible with unselfconsciousness. Blackness is a tracking device.

Honeychild, Fly Away Home

For a brief moment in the cemetery, I wished it wasn’t my inheritance. That this wasn’t my story.

The Indescribably Real: Epic Memoir and Barycentric Fiction

The softening of the reader’s criteria for what can be permissibly worked into the novel format, processing real life through the story-teller’s eye for structure, implicates not only our literature, but reality as we experience it.

Lesser-Known Pleasures

Nell Zink’s prose may not expand into rolling curls of unconventional syntax, but it is nonetheless difficult. Her mercilessly enjoyable prose leaves itself open to serious moral misinterpretation.

The Perils of Optimism, with Zeppelins

Truth itself won’t be comforted, but there’s solace in seeing the huckster unmasked. On American optimism and THE CARP CASTLE by MacDonald Harris.

Grieving in the Time of Lulz

Knausgaard could have Instagrammed his father’s empties. Didion could have live-tweeted her late-night ambulance ride. Instead they wrote. Why do we write grief?

The Corpse Singing On The Radio

Scott Beauchamp writes about the first time he saw a dead body in Iraq, his experience reading the Stoics during combat, and his later turn to a philosophy capable of responding to injustice.

Soul Proprietors

The Robin Thicke verdict renders the 2013 song theft, and thereby the two songs the same. It’s the latest installment in the American government’s recent series of ontological rearrangements.


While dystopian fiction, film, and television is now as popular as it’s ever been, we’ve surgically amputated our fears about societal collapse from our individual ambitions.

Ad Infinitum  

Exposure to more ads means more reading and seeing and hearing the empty rhetoric of essentialist perlocution: paltered clichés, tropes, maxims, lies, and nonsense. One result, in Barthes’ view, is a cheapening of the greater language.