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Out Of Our Heads

Philip Shepherd On The Brain In Our Belly

Our story insists that our thinking happens exclusively in the head. And so we are stuck in the cranium, unable to open the door to the body and join its thinking. The best we can do is put our ear to the imaginary wall separating us from it and “listen to the body,” a phrase that means well but actually keeps us in the head, gathering information from the outside.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

In The Hills

For all you women out there, as the song goes (there must be a song that goes like that), this is how it is when you leave us: We wake up at midnight in our mother’s house, in our childhood room, in our childhood bed, and we think to ourselves, What am I doing lying here while, in New York, in my apartment, in my real room, in my adult bed, my wife is leaving me? Then we think that she is probably not alone in that bed. Then we get up.

 

It Is No Longer Necessary To Write Novels

I think it was Jorge Luis Borges who said that it was no longer necessary to write novels; it was sufficient to write the review of the novel. I say it’s no longer necessary to write novels; you may just write the first line.

Side By Side

When I pull up to my house after work, my friend Eppie is standing in the middle of our shared driveway, clutching her green canvas shopping bag. Her face shows relief and then worry as I get out of my car. “I hate to bother you,” she says, “but would you mind taking me home?”

Fiction

Say

He drapes one hand over the wheel, reaches the other out to her, palm up, like he’s trying to make a point, like he’s trying to come to the point — but she’s not listening. We don’t even have to say that. You can see it in the way her gaze has gone as flat and vacant as these plains. See the sunburnt angle of her jaw? That quick tremble of her lip? For her sake let’s say that, finally, he shuts up.

Blueberries

Basia watches her granddaughter, Lalka. No matter what else she does — digs in the garden, pulls weeds in the greenhouse, peels the potatoes — always she watches her granddaughter, who has a reddish-purple birthmark over her neck and jaw and part of her cheek. Her husband, Zbigniew, watches Lalka too.

The Dog-Eared Page
A Classic from the Bookshelf ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

April 2013

Why do I imagine that the way I shape these sentences matters to anyone but me? So what if my writing is published? Hell, I’m the publisher!

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passersby to come and love us.

Robert Louis Stevenson

More Quotations ▸
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