My friend Jesse calls this "the snap," as though everyone calls it that. ("Last night I felt the snap in Tallahassee. How about where you are?") I like the cold you can feel in your bones, the kind that begs -- demands -- attention. Indeed, "the snap" sounds right for that kind of cold -- bony, hammy cold. It's the red beginning of a certain kind of inevitable death that we hold vigil with every year. The snap invites you to move inside, to wrap yourself in blankets, to make tea, to wear a hat. And then, once you're balled up and comfortable, we want to invite you to read. We hope you'll start here! We have fresh offerings every Monday in November and December, including some of our richest and most challenging writing to date.
Contract Negotiation of 2108: Secure Schools and the National Teacher's Union (NTU)
The now famous contract negotiations of 2108 dynamically shifted the balance of power in the United States and held global ramifications for future policy. It was in those negotiations that the NTU openly wielded its military and political clout for the first time, all for the continued safety and education of the American children.
Hello Big Star Talent,
Your agency excites me so much that I want to dump all my other project! drop everything and just go! meet you in a normal setting and not exchange bodily fluids. My name is [...] (think up a churchy name like Mary Cristian or Donna Sommers) and I have [...] much wholesome on-camera experience, as you will see in my resume.
The "PhD" certainly sounded like a promising sock, once the peppy young man whose name tag read "Jared" steered me toward it. "A little lighter weight but nicely cushioned, perfect for summer hiking," he informed me. Normally I bought regular Smartwools with no indication of their education level. Maybe it was time to see what doctorates had to offer.
Poem of a Few Baby Voices
Poem of a Few Baby Voices
Great are Snooki and Jionni, I too delight in them,
Great are their baby voices, I too fear life in the annals of a mother’s house.
Great the birthed child, and their wary dreams of telling mother of their hope of a return to the shore this summer!
Many years ago, several brilliant minds got together to do something about the appalling gaps in children’s education; their efforts achieved rousing success. Poor kids often started school far behind their wealthier counterparts, unable to fully recite their ABCs and lacking in the ability to count to ten. Now they have Sesame Street and such unpreparedness is a thing of the past.
Years after leaving school, people still report having “test anxiety” dreams. Those are the ones where you have a test to take, a high stakes one that will determine if you pass or fail the class, but you haven’t studied at all. I don’t get those dreams, but sometimes I’ll wake up from very visceral flashbacks to my high school track on the day of the meet. I’m touching my toes, pulling on my hamstrings, steadying myself on the starting line. Into the megaphone the announcer calls, “Runners take your mark. Set. Go!” and the gun fires.
Congratulations! On behalf of the Dissertation Review Committee at The University of Gods and Divinities, it is my pleasure to inform you that your thesis, The Universe, submitted on StarDate 1K55x, has been accepted. Provided you complete all the necessary course work constituent to matriculation, the University will confer upon you the title, Doctor of Creation, at the end of the semester.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I surveyed this untouched world
Head held high
Man, I am killing it right now at being original
by DOMINIC VITI
FLORIDA—There is widespread panic across America that there will be a shortage of cake.
Harold Berman, an anti-health activist from Daytona Beach, thinks the American people, wracked with fear over the famine of sugar, flour and eggs, may riot in the streets.
“It’s not right,” said Marge Zimmerman, a.k.a. “Large Marge,” a competitive eater in Fort Lauderdale. “What are we supposed to do? Live on vegetables?”
by LEON BLANDA
God is a great idea on paper. He sounds perfect. One guy who takes care of it all; who wouldn’t want that? Just ask, and ye shall receive? Fantastic! Imagine how much easier your job would be if your boss didn’t delegate all that work to you. Hell, you could just clock in, tell your boss what you needed, then sit back and wait for the work to do itself.
by JAMIE THOMPSON
We fear a grave error has been made in awarding you this year’s Gallagher-Prince-Hoolihan Prize. To be perfectly frank, we, the committee, feel that you are not nearly smart enough, good looking enough, or even remotely kind enough to have warranted your receiving our most prestigious award.
by MARK JONES
Having offered precious fluids in exchange for this morning's physical examination, I stumble forward to settle the bill.
"I will leave this sterile warren," I tell myself, "and will stop for a double cheeseburger, or for something even less healthy, on the way back home."
But as I pass a consulting room, I hear the doctor's stern and authoritative voice:
"How many vodkas a day?"
Say what you want about Satan, but his legacy in music history is safe and sound. If you exclude God, Cupid and the Grim Reaper, more popular songs have been inspired by the devil than perhaps any other muse.
That’s a Murderers’ Row, those three. Lucifer may finish fourth, out of medal contention, but when you consider that much of the world believes the first guy runs the universe, and the second runs all the baby-making in the world, I’d say Satan is no slouch as an inspiration.
After toiling for a few years and making my hundreds, I recently decided to retire from the theatre to my quiet life in my shared four-bedroom apartment in the urine-soaked streets of San Francisco’s Mission District. I was meant for something better – if only I could figure out what that something was. I’d originally wanted to be an actor, but years of rejection in college led me down the treacherous path to the other side of the curtain.
I used to steal glances at a boy through the cafeteria windows, blushing in my cherry red uniform, as he made my little ones laugh. The scorching shriek of a teacher burns the children into standing in a straight line; “If you don’t stay away from the wall, then you’re on the wall!”
“Get on the line!”
“Get in line!”
I wish someone would tell me how to write this. I feel freaked out about the personal essay now; do you? How do you do it so that it’s not an instrument through which you try to vindicate yourself, to prove your innocence in the world? Or else, how do you use it so it’s not just another way in which you use the world as your own giant, private confessional booth?
The Missouri cold came swiftly that year. By November all the red clay was bone-dry dust that blanketed the crystallized car windows. The girl slept in fingerless gloves and the hat that Sofia gave her the winter they lived in the big old apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts. But this season, there were no ratty sweaters, no piled-high wool blankets, no games to play with frozen breath clouds.
I found the guy on Craigslist. A student of Japanese rope bondage, he wanted to tie someone up at a club fetish night. It sounded like easy money, sitting there blindfolded and bound at a club not far from my house.
“I'm interested in doing this event with you,” I wrote in an e-mail. “I'm not opposed to immobility or being in my underpants in public, and interested in being tied up.”
My wound is not geography, but a world that one day just up and stops for each of us and don’t come back not once. A wound like rocks in your mouth. Mice in your chest when you think about it. It’s like a guilt. It’s an awfully privileged thing, really; the difference between Band Aids and something improvised from tape and Kleenex. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but lots of folks are too hungry to worry or walk around pointing at their bruises for strangers.
There’s a story I learned at a Buddhist gathering about a man in a boat at sea. He sails, peacefully alone with his thoughts, when he notices the lights of another boat in the distance, heading in his direction. The man knows he has the right of way and that the boat will move out of his path; and yet, as the boat gets closer, it becomes increasingly clear that if the man himself doesn’t change his course, a collision will be inevitable. It’s the slowest-ever game of Chicken.
Dolls are for little girls and Giant Suzie was the life-sized Native American doll that I toted around for longer than I should have. This was before I was able to understand a bit about maturity and the onset of the lifelong agony found in love. The doll had belonged to my Aunt Addie, my father’s younger sister.