“She fixes her eyes on the slender, cylindrical pins at the far end of the alley, takes a few strides, and sends the ball rolling straight and true down the center of the lane. It seems destined to earn her a strike or at least a spare, but something funny happens. The ball hits a single pin, knocking it backward and out of formation. The hole gapes like a missing tooth. The other pins don’t even wobble. McCracken laughs and shrugs. ‘That’s candlepin!’ she says.”
“I went because I wanted to remember that the heart was a muscle more than it was a metaphor: when it hurt the hurt was most often a metaphor, but when the hot-cold-hot of my rotation from sauna to ice bath and back made it thump crazily against my ribs, that pounding was the muscle laboring to keep me alive.”
“It’s not real, I know. The couple isn’t a couple, just two strangers who met for the first time sixteen minutes ago. But I think of Marie Hyld describing how she felt setting up the photo: “so alive.” How long does it take to forge intimacy that’s authentic? Does it have to last to matter? If you capture it on film, can you hold onto it longer?”
"Russell refers to his work as an “endless landscape” in a nod to the late Ming / early Qing compositions, particularly the masterful, elegiac work of Shitao, Kuncan, and Xiao Yuncong. When you relax your gaze, Russell’s images take on the flowing topographical patterns of the paintings they’re modeled after: clusters of form that rise into peaks between swathes of blank space suggesting clouds or sky or rising mist. On closer look, Russell’s drawings resolve into intimately detailed portraits of the strangers who sit opposite him during his daily commute across New York City."
"Sometimes it is easier to give in, to ride an event to its logical conclusion. I’m not saying it’s honorable or correct. Just easier. I let the riptide carry me a quarter mile down the shore to where I could swim out of it. In bed with the stranger, I gripped the headboard and gritted my teeth."
"In January 2014, a low-pressure weather system moving across the Southern Plains collided with an arctic system out of Canada to create what meteorologists called a polar vortex. The ensuing storms brought record low temperatures and snowfall to New England, the mid-Atlantic and the upper Midwest: For a few days, the National Weather Service referred to Chicago as 'Chiberia.' I was there, in Chiberia, to catch the Lake Shore Limited to New York."
"A pilgrim goes looking for miracles or communion. In the houses of Neruda I found only things, only so much salvage. In each room the poet seemed more foreign, more unknowable, than in the room before."
"In China my biggest fear is of getting lost. I know how to say, I can’t find. I can use this to say I can’t find such-and-such place. I don’t know what to say when I don’t know what I’m looking for. I don’t know how to say, I’m lost. Possibly I could say I can’t find myself and someone would know what to do with me."
Crony Capitalism Is Bad for Your Health: Interview with Dr. Michael Fine
"What I say to everyone who has been denied healthcare, or lost their financial security, or can’t afford health insurance, is this: Listen up. Someone is stealing a trillion dollars a year from the American people, and all of us are letting them get away with it."
Natural and Unnatural Violence: An Interview with Blair Braverman
"Adventure is just a matter of surfing on violence. Seeing if you can ride it safely. Which might be why so many adventure narratives are male. Women don’t have to seek out violence; it comes to them."
"Taken together, Ingram’s clerihews reveal a singularly limber and eclectic mind — one capable of drawing inspiration from medieval mystics, contemporary pop icons, modernist poets, Hungarian composers, and ancient Greek philosophers, all with the same ease and irreverence."
What We Owe History: An Interview with John D'Agata
"The language of football is sensual: consider the euphonic assonance of a pick-six or a squib kick, the sibilant whistle of pass interference. It is hard edged and muscular, brutal, abrupt. I love its colliding consonants, its rhythms and punctures."
"Because the temperature of the broth within was hotter than the outer skin, and because the meat within was firmer and more substantial, the dumpling possessed a living, organ-like quality; it seemed to pulse, and biting into it gave one the impression of biting into a beating heart."
Inflections Forever New: An Interview with Maggie Nelson
"V and I flew to New Orleans and checked into India House five months before the hurricane blew through and sunk the first floor under five feet of water. The carved sign above the door read Laissez les bon temps rouler and a man by the guestbook claimed to be the King of Swaziland."