Voyage Around My Cell

Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan has been jailed since 2016, as part of a media purge following the failed coup d’état. Life in prison has four loci: the bed, the chair, and yard, and the imagination.

Published: Oct 10, 2019
Length: 10 minutes (2,717 words)

How to Really Listen to Music

What happens when we pay music closer attention, rather than treat it like background noise to zone out to? And how do laypeople approach things like rhythm and tone?

Published: Aug 22, 2019
Length: 5 minutes (1,349 words)

For the Love of Orange

“But orange’s pop and fizz and alarming brightness still sparks in me — a reminder of how it feels to begin. It feels like joy, like the kick of a starting gun, like a banner flapping in the breeze.”

Published: Aug 13, 2019
Length: 9 minutes (2,376 words)

The Crane Wife

Days after calling off her wedding, a writer travels to Texas to study the endangered whooping crane, and learns about the nature of need.

Author: CJ Hauser
Published: Jul 16, 2019
Length: 14 minutes (3,586 words)

The Soviet Children Who Survived World War II

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses, a 1985 collection of testimonials from then-Soviets who were children during the Second World War, has been translated into English and excerpted at the Paris Review. “It became connected like that in my memory, that war is when there’s no papa.”

Published: Jul 17, 2019
Length: 9 minutes (2,454 words)

Smoking Cigarettes Saved My Life

Turning one’s lived experience into fiction can be a very fruitful exercise, leading the story far from its factual origins, but the need for readers to identify the bits of the author’s real life misses the way fiction can reveal larger truths.

Published: Jun 28, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,020 words)

Beauty or Brains? A Simple Equation

“So, like the wicked stepsisters (smart) in the Grimms’ story of Cinderella (beautiful and good), I lopped toes and heels off characters to make them fit where I wanted. I jammed them into place and ignored the blood.”

Published: May 29, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,112 words)

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction

Twenty-five years after Sven Birkerts published The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, which of his concerns now plague our digital world?

Published: Feb 8, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,180 words)

On Randy Travis’s Distinctive Whine

As one Tennessee native’s parents taught him, nobody respects a whiner, so how did his favorite country singer get away with it?

Published: Jan 8, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,096 words)

On Being a Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted

“Sometimes, I’ll read a novel written by a man in which a woman walks home alone, late at night, in America, without having a single thought about her physical safety, and it’s so implausible that I’ll put the book down.”

Author: R.O. Kwon
Published: Jan 7, 2019
Length: 4 minutes (1,205 words)