A BURN PILE of Post-it notes to self. There are good things all around. Great things. Pick one. Click it.

The Force of Decency Awakens

by Paul Krugman. Opinion in The New York Times.

"Suddenly, it seems as if the worst lack all conviction, while the best are filled with a passionate intensity. We don’t yet know whether this will translate into political change. But we may be in the midst of a transformative moment."

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Swing Your Partner

New fiction by Jean-Luc Bouchard at Pithead Chapel.

"When I asked everyone their opinion, they all said the same thing: “You always seem happy to me.” So I took their words to heart, because if the whole world tells you something, it’s probably true."

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If I had a dog I’d name it Virginia Woof.

Literary Pet Names Using Puns Unworthy of Their Namesakes

A list of laughter by Kristen Arnett and Mary Laura Philpott at McSweeney's.

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Honeysuckle and Jasmine

Fiction by Rachel Abbott at The Stockholm Review of Literature.

"We did not notice at first that we were aging out of our games. The restlessness of early adolescence settled over us one summer like an itchy blanket. The Beanie Babies became lifeless, fuzzy sacks. It wasn’t that we realized we couldn’t time travel or dig all the way to China; we just didn’t want to try anymore."

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Is it too late to write about AWP? Because I feel a thread coming on. Rereading my notes from the WRITING BAD ASS & NASTY WOMEN panel, I’m finding so many gems that seem appropriate to share as students protest & as I’m thinking about misogyny yet again.  https://twitter.com/MaureenLangloss/status/974012009749581824

Is it too late to write about AWP? Because I feel a thread coming on. Rereading my notes from the WRITING BAD ASS & NASTY WOMEN panel, I’m finding so many gems that seem appropriate to share as students protest & as I’m thinking about misogyny yet again.

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Joshua Mohr at LitHub: The Time I Robbed a Liquor Store

On Confession, Guilt, and the Impossibility of Absolution

"[D]o our mistakes really deserve mercy? Can something as simple as time erode the severity of our indiscretions?"

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Forgive Me South Dakota

New nonfiction by Vivé Griffith in the latest Hippocampus.

"My grandmother didn’t tell me 20 miles can be so many things. Bend after bend. Rising and falling. The road blocked, buffalo illuminated in my headlights. Beep the horn before the one-lane bridge. Use the brights. Squint into blackness, turn another curve."

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On Hysteria

Nonfiction by Renée Branum at The New Limestone Review.

"Wanda was prone to fits of hysterics, was known to fall out of her chair laughing on occasion. She would quiver on the carpet, folded up like a hand that couldn’t quite make a fist. And because she was old, was always old as far as I can remember, this was a little frightening."

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The Male Glance

By Lili Loofbourow at VQR.

"The male glance is how comedies about women become chick flicks. It’s how discussions of serious movies with female protagonists consign them to the unappealing stable of “strong female characters.” It’s how soap operas and reality television become synonymous with trash. It tricks us into pronouncing mothers intrinsically boring, and it quietly convinces us that female friendships come in two strains: conventional jealousy or the even less appealing non-plot of saccharine love. The third narrative possibility, frenemy-cum-friend, is an only slightly less shallow conversion myth. Who consumes these stories? Who could want to?"

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The Magazine Interview: the American Gods and Coraline author Neil Gaiman on his outsider status and open marriage

“This isn’t doomsday, this isn’t armageddon... I guess fundamentally I’m an optimist.” 
Interview by Helena De Bertodano

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A Place You Can See the Stars

Fiction by Cathy Ulrich

It’s different here, he says, than in the real world. He calls it the real world. He lives on a street with lamps all up and down it, a place where it’s never dark.

He says: I come here so I can see the stars.

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What makes a good short story?
With Chris Power – books podcast

David Sedaris once said: “A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.”

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Why this? Why not?

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Best of the Net 2017 at Sundress Publications

"This project continues to promote the diverse and growing collection of voices who are publishing their work online, a venue that continues to see less respect from such yearly anthologies as the Pushcart and Best American series. This anthology serves to bring greater respect to an innovative and continually expanding medium in the same medium in which it is published."

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Stormy Daniels is crushing President Trump at his own game

"One remarkable feature of Stormy Daniels' chess match with Trump is that shame — this White House's usual instrument against its adversaries — isn't working. Porn stars don't find shame especially useful, and Daniels is no exception. This poses a problem for the president: Daniels (aka Stephanie Gregory Clifford) is utterly unembarrassed about profiting off her connection to him. She's unembarrassed in general. As the president's most virulent defenders have come after her, she's parried their attacks with jokes that defang them. Cracks about her age earn GILF humor, cracks about her being a prostitute have her crowing with glee. She's so good at this that her attackers often end up deleting their tweets; it's just not worth it."

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Joy Williams, The Art of Fiction No. 223

Interviewed by Paul Winner

"Huddled in a hoodie, Williams made coffee with almond milk before sitting across from me at a pine table. She got up several times to retrieve objects or fuss with the dogs. When the talk was over, she drove us into town for a martini and we returned after dark. There was a fat moon. She cut the truck’s headlights and moved, very slowly, through the herds as they sniffed and stepped aside, hides glowing with moonlight.

“Forget the interview,” she said. “Write about this.”

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Does Recovery Kill Great Writing?

As I emerged from alcoholism, I had to face down a terrifying question.

By Leslie Jamison

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Katie Flynn reads from “In the Skin,” and we interview Associate Editor, Essence London, on why she voted for the piece. Listen here for an glimpse of our latest issue and insight into our selection process.

“In the Skin” was originally published in Indiana Review 39.2, Fall 2017.

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To the Future Readers of Lucie Brock-Broido

By Stephanie Burt

"I remember her telling early-nineties students, often for the first time, about Jane Miller, Denis Johnson, Frank Bidart, and on and on. I still have the photocopies, some divided into categories that she made up (for example, The Swerve)."

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Why Reading Sherman Alexie Was Never Enough

As the #MeToo spotlight moves to Indian Country, epidemic violence against Native women meets tokenism in publishing.

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A Mud Season Review interview with Lynne Feeley

Our nonfiction editor Mindy Wong recently had this exchange with Lynne Feeley, our Issue #36 featured nonfiction author. Here’s what she had to say about her writing and revision process, her inspirations and influences, and the research involved in crafting her essay “The Measurer of Ruin.”


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Christ in the Garden of Endless Breadsticks

The agony and the ecstasy of America’s favorite chain restaurant

by Helen Rosner ( @hels )

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Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light