Partido

January 22, 2021 § 2 Comments

By Hiram Perez

I am eight years old and lost in my daydreams outside Kmart as I weave in and out between the iron bars used to keep people from stealing shopping carts. Suddenly I become aware of my father’s gaze. I meet his eyes and find myself immobilized by the disgust in his scowl.

He speaks—calmly, matter-of-factly: “Papo, if I ever find out you are a maricón, I will kill you and then kill myself.”

I don’t know what maricón means, though I hear it hurled at me enough times by other boys, along with pato. I think it has something to do with my skin being lighter than my father’s. I think it has something to do with how I cry too easily. I think it has something to do with how all my friends are girls, and I have no interest in playing baseball. I do not know what maricón means, but I know I am found out. I do know being a maricón is the worst betrayal imaginable. But what is it that betrays me? A hand gesture, I wonder, or the way I carry myself. Do I daydream too much for a boy? It is something in my eyes perhaps. Do they betray how much I am afraid all the time?

Read Hiram Perez’s full essay in Brevitys January 2021 issue.

Children Hunting Bear in the Afternoon

January 21, 2021 § 3 Comments

By Noah Davis

A sow bear and a cub were hit by a truck on the road outside my neighborhood.

The cub’s torn black fur and cracked claws lay crumpled beside the blown tires. The sow bear, something soft ruptured behind her bones, scrambled up the incline into the green of Pennsylvania June and died in such a hidden place that turkey vultures still haven’t found her heft.

Today, a week later, in light as full as an afternoon, a surviving cub runs paw-heavy through my family’s backyard. She turns up the side yard smelling for some root or ant hill. The apples that dropped from the trees, too hard and sour to tempt her, the blueberries corralled behind a fence. Finding nothing sweet, she crosses the street and tunnels into the neighbor’s bushes.

The neighbor calls my mother, and we leave our tea in the kitchen—my mother, father, brother, wife, and me—and rush out across the street to the last bush where the bear was seen. Pulled by our desire to love something motherless.

Read the rest of Noah Davis’ essay in Brevity‘s latest issue

The Boy Who Drew Cats

January 19, 2021 § 6 Comments

By Jesse Lee Kercheval

Outside there is a pandemic and I am in lockdown in Montevideo, Uruguay, far from my daughter and son also locked down, but in Kanazawa, in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, and I am inside drawing, drawing, drawing, filling sheets of paper, pages drifting to the floor, as if I were the boy in the Japanese fable who also draws and draws and draws but only cats. Cats, cats, cats until his farmer father gives up and sends him to a monastery where the boy draws the monastery cats until the head priest too gives up and tells him to go home. As he leaves, the old priest warns the boy, saying: “Avoid large places at night. Keep to the small.”

I am keeping to the small, tucked inside my rented apartment, inside my body, the very idea of outside frightening to me now—and the boy too is afraid, but of returning to his father, so instead he travels to another temple in the hopes he can ask the priests to stay there, not realizing they have all fled a giant goblin-rat. The boy arrives, and finding the place deserted, begins to draw cats all across the walls.

Continue reading Jesse Lee Kercheval’s flash essay in Brevity’s Latest Issue.

Brevity Launches Issue 66: Fresh Flash Nonfiction and Craft Essays

January 18, 2021 § 2 Comments

Our new issue launches this morning, with wishes for a safer, healthier world and brilliant essays from Jesse Lee Kercheval, Elena Passarello, Hiram Perez, Michael McAllister, Dorian Fox, Tyler Orion, Noah Davis, Ira Sukrungruang, Sonja Livingston, Anne Panning, Kate Hopper, Lizz Huerta, Melissa Stephenson, Francis Walsh, and Laurie Klein. Also, an array of wonderful photos from Kim Adrian.

In our Craft section, Nancy Reddy explores the “community we” and David Perez uses his acting background to show how reading our work aloud can make the written word come alive.

Read our latest issue here.

And we have a request as well: Brevity comes to you with no subscription fees, but we do have expenses. We have no institutional funding, and our volunteer staff is unpaid, but we pay for our website, domain name, backup software, website security software, and various other operating expenses. And we are very proud to say that we pay our authors.

If you appreciate the work we publish or are one of the many teachers who utilize Brevity in the classroom, please consider a small donation.

We are a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, and as such all of your donations are tax-deductible.

The Best of Brevity Visits Ann Arbor and New York City

November 27, 2020 § 2 Comments

Two Zoom readings and six amazing readers coming up next week as we continue our launch activities for the newly-released The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction. We are excited about early praise for the book, grateful to everyone who has ordered the book, and thrilled to hear from those of you who plan to give the book a test run in your writing classes next semester.

Oh, did we mention the New York Times review? Here’s an excerpt:

The immersive effect of reading this anthology straight through is the opposite of a flash experience, and is also lovely, like rolling down a sidewalk of lit windows… So much beauty, so much grief — the whole range of experience flashing by, leaving impressions as it passes.

We blush. But the credit goes to the remarkable authors who have sent us so much marvelous, powerful work over the past two decades. For instance:

On Tuesday, Dec. 1st, at 7 pm EST, the Literati Bookstore of Ann Arbor will host a reading featuring Amy E. Butcher, essayist and the author of the forthcoming Mothertrucker (Little A/Topple Books, 2022), also in development by Emmy-winning Jill Soloway and actress Julianne Moore for film; Matthew Gavin Frank, author of The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America’s FoodPreparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First PhotographerPot Farm, and other wonderful books; and Diane Seuss, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Guggenheim fellow, and author most recently of Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl.

You can read more about the Literati event and join the Zoom Reading and discussion here.

And on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 pm EST, McNally Jackson Booksellers of NYC will host a Best of Brevity reading and discussion with Rajpreet Heir, whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, and elsewhere; Torrey Peters, author of the novel Detransition, Baby, which will be published by One World in January of 2021, as well as the novellas Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker; and Kristen Radtke, author of the graphic nonfiction book Imagine Wanting Only This (2017), and the forthcoming books Seek You: Essays on American Loneliness (2021), for which she received a 2019 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, and Terrible Men, a graphic novel, all from Pantheon.

You can read more about the McNally Jackson event and join the Zoom Reading and discussion here.

Best of Brevity co-editors Zoë Bossiere and Dinty W. Moore will be part of the discussion at both events.

The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction is now shipping from warehouses across the country and available at your local independent bookstore through curbside service or distanced browsing. 

You’ve Got to Draw the Line Somewhere: Doodling for Writers

November 23, 2020 § 7 Comments

By Dinty W. Moore

I have always been a doodler — in grade school, high school, hiding in the back row of large college classrooms, eventually in faculty meetings, and often just to pass the time while waiting in a doctor’s office. Having a pencil or pen in hand and some paper, or for that matter a little free space in the margins of a magazine, has always been calming for me, meditative, and amusing, all at the same time. So I was pretty darn excited to hear that Rebecca Fish Ewan had a new book out, Doodling for Writers. How do these little scribbles of ours improve our writing? In more ways than I imagined.

I was especially pleased by the book’s release because Rebecca wrote a stellar craft essay on the graphic form for Brevity and has been featured more than once — see here, and here — on the Brevity Blog .

I was so tickled that I decided to doodle a picture of her to celebrate:

And it was the most horrible doodle ever doodled. Worse even than the drawing I did of my friend Jackson’s Labradoodle:

But Doodling for Writers is nonetheless a clever, lively, funny little book, and the advice is sound. On pacing and voice, for instance:

“Voice and breath are inextricably linked. In poetry, line breaks indicate a breath. In prose, it’s, commas, that, signal, inhalations. When I draw, I become more aware of my breaths. The lines I lay down on the page keep pace with my breathing. If I want calm still lines, I slow my breaths, which in turn slows my heart rate, which then calms my hand so it can give me the line I need.”

Fish Ewan offers up a wonderful chart detailing the links between perspective in drawing and literary Point of View. She has excellent points and pointers as to how exploring our characters in ink can help us learn more about the folks we write about in our memoirs. The prompts throughout the book are brilliant!

I like also that she regularly advises tossing out the rules, like the one about how to draw heads, which never worked for me, unless I was trying to draw the head of a pig:

The real message of Doodling for Writers is that one corner of the creative brain can stimulate another corner, that drawing, or doodling, can happily stimulate the writer’s mind, and that, what the heck, writing can still be fun (like drawing.)

__

Dinty W. Moore is the editor-in-chief of Brevity and he drewed these pictures all by his self.

The Best of Brevity Now Available & Two Readings This Week

November 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

This week, The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction begins shipping from warehouses across the country (and becomes available at your local independent bookstore through curbside service or distanced browsing.) We are excited about early praise for the book, grateful to everyone who pre-ordered, and thrilled to hear from those of you who plan to give the book a test run in your writing classes next semester.

We also have two launch events this week, our West Coast Launch in Los Angeles and our East Coast Launch on the Three Rivers Coastline of Pittsburgh. We hope you will join us to celebrate!

Here are the particulars:

SKYLIGHT BOOKS, Los Angeles, Wednesday Nov. 18th at 6:30 pm PST (9:30 pm EST)

Best of Brevity co-editors Zoë Bossiere and Dinty W. Moore will be joined by authors Daisy Hernández, Nicole Walker, and Ira Sukrungruang. Following a reading of three brief (of course) essays from the anthology, there will be lively discussion about the flash nonfiction form and tips for those wanting to write, publish, and teach flash nonfiction. An audience Q&A will follow. You can pre-register here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/skylit-best-of-brevity/register

WHITE WHALE BOOKSTORE, Pittsburgh, Thursday Nov. 19th at 7 pm EST

At this East Coast event, Zoë and Dinty will be joined by authors Julie Hakim Azzam, Lori Jakiela, and Deesha Philyaw. Following a reading of their three brief essays from the anthology, there will be lively discussion about the flash nonfiction form and tips for those wanting to write, publish, and teach flash nonfiction. An audience Q&A will follow. Preregister for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/east-coast-launch-for-the-best-of-brevity-registration-127005140795

And here’s more on the book:

Featuring examples of nonfiction forms such as memoir, narrative, lyric, braided, hermit crab, and hybrid, The Best of Brevity brings you 84 of the best-loved and most memorable reader favorites from the journal, collected in print for the first time. Compressed to their essence, these essays glint with drama, grief, love, and anger, as well as innumerable other lived intensities, resulting in an anthology that is as varied as it is unforgettable, leaving the reader transformed.

With contributions from Jenny Boully, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Daisy Hernández, Michael Martone, Ander Monson, Patricia Park, Kristen Radtke, Diane Seuss, Abigail Thomas, Jia Tolentino, and many more. 
____

“The Best of Brevity feels like the condensed energy of a coiled spring. A vibrant collection, dynamic in its exploration and celebration of the flash form.”

                         -Karen Babine, author of All the Wild Hungers    
____

Our Newest Issue: Experiences of Disability

September 15, 2020 § 2 Comments

We’ve posted our new issue this morning and we couldn’t be more pleased. The brief essays in this guest-edited special issue consider all aspects of illness and disability: what it is, what it means, how our understanding of disability is changing. The issue’s authors explore how disability is learned during childhood, lived over the entire course of a life, and how our changing understanding of disability shapes the way we experience ourselves and others.
Our anchor author is novelist and essayist Esmé Weijun Wang, author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. Other authors featured include Barbara Lanciers, Meg Le Duc, William Fargason, Ona Gritz, Kelly Weber, Maya Osman-Krinsky, Tiffany Promise, Ellen Samuels, Laura Brady, Jeanene Harlick, Amie McGraham, Katie Schwarz, Caroline Bock, and Erin Vachon.

The “Experiences of Disability” issue is guest edited by Keah Brown, Sonya Huber, and Sarah Fawn Montgomery. Artwork by Jill Khoury.


Read the new issue here: https://brevitymag.com/

A Memoir Takes Its Place: A Conversation with Rebecca McClanahan

September 8, 2020 § Leave a comment

We are posting one of our September Craft Essays a bit early to celebrate the recent release of Rebecca McClanahan’s new book, In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays (Red Hen Press). In this craft contribution, Nancy Geyer talks with McClanahan, a frequent Brevity contributor over the years, about the crafting of her memoir, with a focus on conveying setting.

Here’s an excerpt,

Nancy Geyer: In one of your craft essays for Brevity“Forest in the Trees,” you mention recurring patterns or motifs as a way to unify a book. They can also reinforce the feel of a place, right? I’m thinking of your squirrels and park benches.

Rebecca McClanahan: Yes, recurring motifs seem a natural way to unify a book and to situate the reader in a place. And you’re right about animals and park benches! Squirrels do indeed scamper now and then through the book’s pages, but quite a few other creatures make appearances as well—pigeons and ducks, including the duckling in the Hans Christian Andersen statue, and the dogs in the park, and even the baby bird that the homeless man shows me nesting in the lining of his jacket.

And yes, the park bench was such an important part of my experience of New York—not only as my own physical (if temporary) stake on the landscape and a place from which to view the scene, but also as an opportunity for conversations with strangers, who were always eager to share their stories and their sometimes strange but always intriguing wisdom. In that way, a park bench is where the public and private meet, right? Which seems to echo the experience of living in New York. At least my own experience during the time we lived there.

Now, take a moment to pop over and read the full interview here.

The Best of Brevity: Pre-Ordering Now Available

August 20, 2020 § 8 Comments

brev webimageWe are proud and happy to announce that The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction is now available for preordering (and free shipping too.)

Over the past 20 years, Brevity has become one of the longest-running and most popular online literary publications, a journal readers regularly return to for insightful essays from skilled writers at every stage of their careers. Featuring examples of nonfiction forms such as memoir, narrative, lyric, braided, hermit crab, and hybrid, The Best of Brevity brings you 84 of the best-loved and most memorable reader favorites, collected in print for the first time. Compressed to their essence, these essays glint with drama, grief, love, and anger, as well as innumerable other lived intensities, resulting in an anthology that is as varied as it is unforgettable, leaving the reader transformed.

With contributions from Krys Malcolm Belc, Jenny Boully, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Daisy Hernández, Michael Martone, Ander Monson, Patricia Park, Kristen Radtke, Diane Seuss, Abigail Thomas, Jia Tolentino, and many more (listed here), The Best of Brevity offers unparalleled diversity of style, form, and perspective for those interested in reading, writing, or teaching the flash nonfiction form.

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER FOR THE BEST OF BREVITY

Get free U.S. shipping on your preorder (through November 17) using coupon code BREVITYSHIPSFREE at checkout.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Brevity contributors category at BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

%d bloggers like this: