How do you write an accurate memoir without perpetuating stereotypes? Jesmyn Ward struggled with this when writing about absent black fathers and husbands in her book Men We Reaped. “I also had to figure out how much of the truth do I tell, how do I make the truth as balanced as I possibly can? How do I make these people as complicated and as human and as unique and as multifaceted as I possibly can? For me, that was the way I attempted to counteract some of that criticism,” she told The Rumpus.
Laila Lalami recently wrote about “How History Becomes Story,” but writing an interesting and compelling history book sans fiction has its own challenges. Thankfully S.C. Gwynne offers some tips in a piece for the History News Network, including the hard-hitting reminder that “it is your job to force your facts into narrative form.”
Excerpts from Anthony Michael Morena’s The Voyager Record: A Transmission are now available online in Ninth Letter. Morena combines flash fiction and prose poetry in his record of the phonograph record that was included on the Voyager spacecrafts. The record plated with gold contained 27 songs, 118 images, and greetings in 55 languages, and was meant to summarize all life on Earth for the extraterrestrials.
Everyone should read this extremely important interview with Matt Gallagher and Phil Klay, two talented writers who are also veterans of the Iraq war. Klay won the National Book Award in 2014 for his collection Redeployment–even Obama loved it. From drone strikes to PTSD to finding purpose after war, this interview covers a lot of bases. Phil Klay’s Year in Reading from 2014 is a little dated but worth a look.
The Barcelona Review has the text of the eponymous story from Alan Heathcock’s Volt for your reading pleasure. You might remember Heathcock’s work from last Decemeber, when Michael Schaub picked the “dark, beautiful short story collection” in his Year in Reading installment, and then gave it a glowing review for NPR.
Michael Seidlinger writes on how consciousness occurs online. As he puts it, “We have all become Sisyphus, pushing our rocks up a hill littered with hyperlinks and tweets, perpetually, futilely, refreshing the page of existence.” Pair with this Millions piece on the best of literary Twitter.