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MeanderA Nova show about the forms of nature prompts me to look up meander. Having always used the word to refer to walking, I am surprised to learn that it comes from water. Rivers and streams meander, verb, have meanders, noun. Meander, in fact, comes from the name of a river, one in ancient Phrygia, now part of Turkey — the Maeander, now the Menderes.
Issue 01 / Issue 50 / Issue 06
FROM THE EDITOR: What’s in this Name – And What’s Not?Ever since I began to write and to teach writing 20 years ago, people have been asking me to explain the genre in which I work—this form that hasn't had a name.
Nonfiction in First Person, Without ApologyIn his introduction to the 1989 The Best American Essays, Geoffrey Wolff tells a story about how, in writing an essay on King Lear as a young boarding school boy, he could not help but narrate some of his own misunderstandings with his Duke of Deception father to illustrate his sympathy with Cordelia.
Issue 01 / Issue 06 / Creating Nonfiction (eBook)
PilgrimsSometimes a bit of travel turns out to have been a pilgrimage. It all depends on whether our destination surpasses our expectations. As soon as we set out, airports and highways start to seal into us everything that we’re going to think about where we’re headed.
Time and AgainI. What makes us go against our instincts, our best learned interests? Though time and again my mother impressed upon me gentleness and a respect for life, though I knew in the back of my mind and in the humming cargo of my own blood that she was right, there I was at nine years old, living across the street from the foothills, armed to the teeth.
How Tununak Came to Me“This is your last chance to back out,” Phil said to me over the crackling phone. Several days of clear, calm weather had lured many men in Tununak out into their boats to hunt seals. Now the wind had returned, sending the men home, and Phil, the school principal, had been able to meet with the village elders’ council and with the Tununak school board.
ConsanguinityWhen I was young, I met a coarse ruddy man named Blood who wore bib overalls. His rattly car was red with iron rust. I thought Blood an awful name. As bad as Guts.
Sea UrchinsIn the eight months I spent in the Mediterranean town of Sanary, France, working with and getting to know fishermen, I never met a fishwife. I never met a woman who sold fish who was contentious, strident, or foul-mouthed.
If and WhenWhat happened to my grandmother would not happen to me, I vowed at twenty-seven. She was eighty-nine and at home when her heart failed and a nurse s aide resuscitated her with adrenalin and CPR.
Bush Taxi CommandosIt had been a game to the driver, the madman at the wheel of the pickup truck, slaloming between potholes on a narrow, tortuous mudtrack at, I estimate, close to 50 miles an hour.