“My copy of Catherine Lacey’s debut novel is dog-eared to the degree of making all those folded corners pointless. The book is one large dog-eared page, because you don’t have to flip far to find sentences and sentiments that make you pause and stare at the words, those simple marvels, and emit the sort of soft “oh” that usually comes after finishing a poem.”
“We moved back to Kansas, where I went back to my old school for third grade. I immediately got in trouble for having learned cursive before its mandatory introduction, and then in further trouble for scratching “Impeach Nixon” onto the wall of a bathroom stall with my house key.”

The truth is you didn’t want to disappear, but you were already disappearing. Your skin burned clean away, your body no longer recognizable without the flip chart at the foot of your hospital bed. Recovery a matter of flesh, of calling your body back into being.

And because the fire didn’t enter your lungs but did breach your nasal passages, you didn’t have to smell your own skin as you healed. And because you were not without a throat or a voice, and morphine coursed through your veins, you sang and you did not stop. The nurse remembers you for this. Your eerie nightsong.

Paternalia by Susannah Nevison.
“Tell me the best fantasy lands aren’t deep, deep conversations. The one you had when everyone else was asleep at a slumber party when you were nine years old on the basement floor covered by a green outdoor rug next to her brother’s barbell stand. Or the one you had on the bus with that boy when you were fourteen who said girls didn’t go out with him because he had a paunch and didn’t play football. And you admitted a few things about yourself that didn’t sound good. Or the one that kept you in the dining hall so you missed all your afternoon classes in college. Or the one that led you to elope. Or the one last week when you talked about how you felt about failing and failing again until one of the children came running in because you’d forgotten dinner. Tell me, aren’t the best fantasies where you have those conversations you don’t want to leave, like an island, ancient volcano, surrounded by jeweled waters, warm in the sunlight, icy in the shadow of its caves—a place you remember best for being rare, for being far in the middle of the sea, uninhabitable, or unbearably too inhabitable, left before we ruined it.”

I had a dream once where Neil deGrasse Tyson smashed my cellphone (which was not then a Samsung model, so maybe that’s why?). Then, with a wave of his hand, he put my cell phone back together. He pushed it into my outstretched palm and said, Don’t thank me, thank Quantum mechanics. He said, Call your mother. When I woke up, I did both things in that order, but my dad answered and said, Hey listen, we didn’t want to worry you, but your mom’s been shitting blood and so we’ve been at the hospital since yesterday. My mom did not die but she almost did and details of her illness aside, this proves that Neil deGrasse Tyson is watching out for me. It proves we are cosmically linked. He would laugh at my faith and remind me that we are all made of stars and isn’t that an even more powerful story?

Facts About Neil DeGrasse Tyson by Jennine Capó Crucet.

“But song-poems are also uniquely fascinating. Their particular badness is of the kind that record collectors, for example, love to attend to: the mixture of dread earnestness and camp, the mixture of mastery and inability, the collisions of historical eras, the inexplicability of certain cultural tendencies.”

In 1987, at a family arcade in New Jersey, I’d hoarded enough Skee-ball tickets for a real prize—not just some ratty stuffed animal. I claimed my bounty with fervor: a single-tape boombox small enough to keep under the covers and muffle the sounds of my parents’ endless fighting. In the dark, the volume at just one bar, I’d lie with my ear pressed against the speaker mesh, my index finger poised, waiting to hit record on any of the groups I loved—Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Exposé, Kool & The Gang. Then I’d spend hours sleuthing out each nuanced lyric, the staccato start and stops, until the vocals faded and the tapes finally gave out.

A year later, in the neighborhood of 3 a.m., I awoke to a smashing sound against the wall I shared with my parents, so I turned to my radio, moving the metal knob an imperceptible hair at a time until I stumbled on the local college station. The sounds I heard changed everything. A baritone DJ yelled, “This one’s for Saddam Hussein. Fuck you!” Then four ticks of drumsticks before the furious guitar of “Chemical Warfare” began. I was so stunned that I didn’t hit record immediately—unblinking in the dark, muscles stiff—but a few bars in, I scrambled to press that red square.

Songs Of Our Lives: Dead Kennedys’ “Chemical Warfare” by Lisa Nikolidakis.
“I signed off from Facebook at the beginning of October 2013. The feeling was that this would be temporary: a self-imposed, month-long break from the crowning time-suck network of the virtual world. But then a funny thing happened during that month. I didn’t miss it.”

Face-Off: Facebook Vs. Reality by Bibi Deitz.

(Tumblr > Facebook.)

“I am seventeen years old, and getting drunk is still a novelty. It has only recently occurred to me that my mother won’t think to check my breath if I’m coming straight home from work, which, for the past four summers, has been at a yacht club’s gourmet snack bar on the Long Island Sound, where I serve buffalo chicken wraps to the children of millionaires. My boss, Jack, is a temperamental but otherwise fully functioning drunk who works the system to get himself fourteen hours’ worth of free beers every day; sometimes he is feeling generous, and he spreads the love around.”
Summer Job Diariest by Shannon Keating.

Do you remember the first magic trick you ever saw? It was probably your weird Uncle Rob who your mom doesn’t let you sit alone with at Thanksgiving who showed you the one where you pull his finger.

Magic is a beautiful thing, even your uncle’s farts. Magic’s especially beautiful for children, because when you’re a child, everything is magic.

Jack Of Hearts by Michael Wong.