An organized life is not always a productive life.
Another fantastic installment of Michael LaPointe’s monthly gambling column Dice Roll. This one is about Steve Schillinger, who sold futures for things you would never find on the Pacific Stock Exchange, including whether O. J. would go to prison.
In the early 20th century, the passionatt fiction editor at McClure’s magazine mentored Willa Cather and O. Henry, took long walks through Manhattan in place of staying put at a desk, read and smoked cigarettes on park benches in all kinds of weather. She was, as this author writes, “a talent whisperer and literary booster,” and even though she was one of the world’s great conversationalists, she left no autobiography.
“Depression says that if I were more grateful, did more yoga poses, took more magnesium, pushed myself more, I’d be better. Depression is a white supremacist, a malignant narcissist, a rape apologist, a gaslighter, Iago, a sadist, a masochist, a hot Lego underfoot, a mind made hell. No amount of privilege, or gratitude, could undo these incurable, chronic diseases.”
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.
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?
“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.”
Days after calling off her wedding, a writer travels to Texas to study the endangered whooping crane, and learns about the nature of need.
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.”
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.