While working at a rural New Jersey Dairy Queen, an overweight teen had to face his troubled relationship with food and his body while keeping his bulimia quiet, and learn to navigate America’s fat-shaming, food-loving culture.
“I ran to not know myself, to reduce myself to a casing of bones, yet I also ran to be empty of them. I ran to forget my body.”
“You deserve to name the harm that has been done to you by others, and you have a responsibility to name the harm you have done. What I am asking is that we make space for these stories of our failures, our ugliness, our unlikability, and greet them with love when they appear.”
A small romantic gesture, even though unrequited, helped the author recover from a violent teenage assault.
The world’s a mess, but that doesn’t mean creativity must end. Staying creative just requires great effort.
Alexander Chee reflects on his affinity for gin and how over the years — in its various cocktail permutations alongside vermouth in martinis and negronis — it has more than kept him company, becoming “almost a travel companion.”
“I wrote Battleborn for white men, toward them. If you hold the book to a certain light, you’ll see it as an exercise in self-hazing, a product of working-class madness, the female strain. So, natural then that Battleborn was well-received by the white male lit establishment: it was written for them.” Claire Vaye Watkins, in Tin House.
The story of Hollywood screenwriter Budd Schulberg’s unlikely collaboration with Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl.
How burdens and values pass from fathers to sons, and the search for that one true thing.
My hand will always remember the density of those silver dollars, the dead weight as I tumbled them back and forth, the dull clink as the coins touched. The nature of that weight offered a lesson in value too; you knew by a sense of the coin’s unique inner gravity that the silver was pure, that it wasn’t an alloy. Holding the coin in your palm you felt the primitive allure of the metal itself, its truth.
The writer on his experience with night terrors, which he associates with his love of horror films and the work of Tom Savini, a special-effects artist known for working with director George Romero on zombie films:
Savini joined the Army rather than wait to get drafted because enlisted men got to pick their jobs. He served as a combat photographer in Vietnam. After the war, he moved to North Carolina and started acting in a repertory theater. He was still playing around with makeups, still using them to scare the holy shit out of people. (In Vietnam, he had been all, “Mama-san, take . . . a . . . look . . . at . . . THIS!”) In fact, that’s what earned him his early notoriety, the verisimilitude of his wounds. “There’s something about seeing the real thing that sets me apart from, let’s say, some other makeup artists who have never experienced that,” he said in a post-Vietnam interview. “When I’m creating an effect, if it doesn’t look good to me—real—doesn’t give me that feeling I used to get when I’d see the real stuff, then it’s just not real enough for me.”