Jeff Sharlet: ‘What a strange verb–draw’

“An American question: ‘How do you know I don’t have a gun?’ … I backed away from Marquise and the gunman, hands out, half-up. Part of me thinking ‘stay,’ thinking, ‘what a story.’ Thinking they wouldn’t draw. Thinking what a strange verb — draw. Like together we might make a picture.”

Jeff Sharlet. The Undertow: Scenes From a Slow Civil War. W. W. Norton & Co., 2023. p. 234.

When I wrote my novel Most Famous Short Film of All Time, for all the time I spent contemplating the scene of Lev talking to Lear in the ice cream shop over the notebook, I don’t think the wordplay on “draw” came to mind. It changes the scene in my imagination. To draw is to shoot is to start over.

Kelsey Larson: ‘Only half of all creatures are real’

From a flash fiction:

“What kind of bird is that?” I ask a man in a uniform, pointing to a marvelous skeleton covered in feathers.

“No kind,” he says. “It’s imaginary.”

“Isn’t this a museum?” I ask.

“Sure,” he says. “But only half of all creatures are real.”

Kelsey Larson, “She Will Bite You,” (flash fiction contest winner), Blue Earth Review, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Issue 29, Fall 2022. p. 10.

Fabio Morábito’s character is ‘no longer afraid’ of poetry

“We thought all poems, by the mere fact of being poems, were good and that judging them was foolish. But one day my father read us ‘Nocturne for Rosario’ by Manuel Acuña, telling us that it was the worst Mexican poem of all time. Not only did I not think it was bad but I found it moving, and I hid that feeling as best as I could, because my father paused every two or three lines to make fun of it. That day I understood that there were good and bad poems, that it was possible after reading them to say ‘I like it’ and ‘I don’t like it,’ and that there were bad poems that could be liked a lot, like ‘Nocturne for Rosario,’ and good poems that can leave you indifferent. I wasn’t very interested in poetry, but I was no longer afraid of it, and from then on, if I came across a poem in a magazine or newspaper, I’d read it to see if it was one of the good ones or the bad ones, one of those I liked or one of those that left me unmoved.”

— The character Eduardo, speaking in a novel by Fabio Morábito. Home Reading Service (2018). Translated by Curtis Bauer. New York: Other Press, 2021. p. 35.

See my essay based on this quote: “You won’t be afraid of that book anymore.”

If you’ve got a Reedsy account, you can help ‘Short Film’

Althea Sevilla, a reviewer for Reedsy, has written a charming review of Most Famous Short Film of All Time.

If you’re on Reedsy, you can upvote the book’s “discovery” page. If it gets a bunch of upvotes now, Reedsy might put it in their Friday newsletter.

This, for me, would be the greatest accomplishment of all time.

While you’re there, you can read the first chapter of the novel.

Perhaps, for you, it’ll be the greatest discovery of all time.

Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for your time.

Cristina Rivera Garza: ‘Para dejar de creer en la realidad’

“Uno necesita el mar para esto: para dejar de creer en la realidad. Para hacerse preguntas imposibles. Para no saber. Para dejar de saber. Para embriagarse de olor. Para cerrar los ojos. Para dejar de creer en la realidad.”

“You need the ocean for this: to stop believing in reality. To ask yourself impossible questions. To not know. To cease knowing. To become intoxicated by the smell. To close your eyes. To stop believing in reality.”

— Cristina Rivera Garza, with translation by Sarah Booker. La cresta de Ilión (2002). The Iliac Crest (2017).