“Without your micro-fiction, we’re like a flightless bird, sauceless noodles, or decarbonated LaCroix. We loved the response to our last contest so much that, naturally, we’re having another one.” Submit your 200-word stories of separation to Paper Darts for its second annual micro-fiction award, judged this time around by Lesley Nneka Arimah (whose What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky graced our most-anticipated list for the first half of this year).
At The Awl, Noah Davis provides an honest overview of how difficult it can be to earn – or fail to earn – a living from freelance internet writing. Perhaps would-be freelancers should take a cue from Ian Hamilton’s 1998 London Review of Books essay in which he espoused the benefits – or perils – of accepting prizes and other literary subsidies.
We all spend way too much time in airports this time of year, but Brad Leithauser searched for a metaphor about his journeys through BWI. As he writes for The New Yorker, “There was a piquant pleasure on the night when I first put these two experiences—morning churchgoing, evening airport-going—side by side. I’d been idly and only semi-consciously asking myself what these nocturnal intervals at B.W.I. reminded me of, and now, suddenly, I’d located my metaphor.”
The contents of the Warburg Library suggest it was conceived in a fairy tale. As Adam Gopnik describes it, the shelves of the quirky London establishment include things like medieval astrology tomes and a section on “The Evil Eye.” Yet despite its notoriety, the University of London filed a lawsuit against it last year, as part of a move to incorporate the Warburg into its greater library. In the latest New Yorker, an essay on the controversial landmark.
Recommended reading: Meg Wolitzer wonders “why are teenage girls drawn to books about mental instability?“
“Soldiers eat beef teriyaki and chicken cavatelli M.R.E.s in a war zone where ‘armored ruins’ line the roads, ‘charred corpses scattered in among the blasted metal’; and sniper fire and I.E.D. ambushes are a constant threat: ‘the chaos out there, the crazy Arabic writing and abu-jabba jabber, the lawless traffic, the hidden danger and buzz and stray bullets and death looming from every overpass.'” Michiko Kakutani reviews Roy Scranton’s War Porn for The New York Times. Here’s an old review from The Millions that shares a bit of Scranton’s lingering sentiment regarding the war.
Thanks to Stephen Elliot‘s Letters in the Mail project, LARB senior editor Matthew Specktor finds himself admiring the gorgeous handwriting of strangers, feeling tickled and gobsmacked, and reflecting on letter writing as something “beautifully useless to do.”