Interview with Will Storr: Disputable Sources

Ann:  Will Storr is a phenomenon.*  His specialty is writing good stories about people in bad places.  He’s got a story in Matter about an extremely unpleasant disease called Morgellons.  People with Morgellons have terrible itches, then tiny fibers creep out of their skin and make oozy sores.  The disease sounds like a horror story out […]

Love Song for the Capital Weather Gang

The latest snowstorm was only somewhere around 5 inches, depending where in the yard I stuck my ruler, and as usual the Capital Weather Gang had nailed it.  I’d written them asking if I could interview them for this post, but at the time they didn’t answer, so intent they were on predicting the upcoming […]

The Last Word(s)

February 24 – 28, 2014 Cameron, trains, and writing: “I watched until it grew so dark that the only things that seemed to exist were the fire and the man’s illuminated hands.” Christie, death, and grief:  ”Such platitudes offered me no comfort. The truth is, Pia died far too young, and I wish she hadn’t.” […]

Train of Thought

If you’re interested in writing, and you’ve been on the internet in the last few days, you may have seen that Amtrak granted a pilot writers’ residency to a New York writer, who took the Lakeshore Limited to Chicago and back, working away in her 3’6” by 6’8” sleeper cabin. And since then, other writers […]

A Lungful of Quiet

I’m writing to you from inside an artificial lung. Really. I’m sitting at a desk in a cylindrical, windowless room, 180 feet across. The floor and walls are concrete, and the ceiling, several stories above, is rimmed with an enormous black rubber gasket which sighs gently—up, then down—every time somebody opens the door. No one […]

Does Your Messy Desk Make You a Bad Person?

My desk is a disaster. Let’s see…there’s a pile of notebooks. An extension cord. A Christmas card from Switzerland and a postcard from Oklahoma. Index cards with poems by Wordsworth and Blake. A folder with the notes for a paper I wrote in 11th grade. And the only reason there’s no stack of unread and […]

I Regret the Error

Happy 2014, the year after The Year We Broke the Internet. Last week, in a gloomy essay in Esquire, Luke O’Neil wrote that publications old and new have abandoned basic reporting—and worse, their basic concern for the truth—for the sake of speed and splash. “Big Viral, a Lovecraftian nightmare … has tightened its thousand-tentacled grip on […]

Holiday Review: Why Blog?

On a recent episode of the literary podcast All Write Already! Susan Orlean said, “I’ve always been skeptical about the value of blogs.” While I agree with her arguments in favor of writing for pay and under the guidance of an editor, I’ve also come to believe that under the right circumstances (i.e. you are not blogging […]