In House

"In House" is a weekly column featuring trawlings and reflections from our editors.

Monday, June 23, 2014 - 8:46am

 

In February, 2014, eighteen seniors at Harbor School, a New York City public high school devoted to maritime careers on Governors Island, a historic military base turned national park, embarked on their first fiction writing efforts. For the next three months, their composition class, which Harbor School veteran teacher, Anna Lurie, and I taught was devoted to little else. On June 3, they read their work, first in the library, then after school in the Mess Hall to classmates, teachers, and family and distributed copies of The Ship Log, the magazine containing their stories. It was a big day for all of us.

Photo by Author

Monday, June 9, 2014 - 6:00am

 

Photo by Author

During the late 18th century and early 19th century, citizens of the newly formed United States were “seeking out the land’s scenic marvels, measuring their sublime effects in language, and even staging an informal competition for which site would claim pre-eminence as a scenic emblem of the young nation” (Sayre 141).

 

One particularly sees this take place in Thomas Jefferson’s descriptions of the Natural Bridge and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1785).  In this work, Jefferson observes and describes all manner of detail about his native state, from landscape, climate, agricultural and mineral resources, to the laws, manners, and religious beliefs of its citizens.  It’s a celebration of all things Virginia in an attempt to show that state’s worth as a leader in the newly formed union.

 

Photo by Elizabeth Witte

Monday, May 26, 2014 - 10:22am

Photo by Elizabeth Witte
 
The $14 manhattans were terrible. We drank them anyway. Las Vegas, Lost Wages, whatever you call it, it was the gateway to our West(ern vacation—three canyons, eight days). The next morning, we ate gigantic omelets beneath a mirrored ceiling, amid fake trees lush in fake pink bloom, pulled out the map and headed through the wide open landscape: straight road, big sky, dry scrub, tumbleweeds. 

Monday, April 21, 2014 - 8:45am

 

Charlie Kaufman imagines a plane crash at the beginning of his semi-autobiographical film Adaptation; he envisions himself nonplussed while the passengers around him scream and fight each other for oxygen masks. I always imagine frantically writing an invariably optimistic goodbye note to my family as my plane descends – reassuring them, falsely or not, depending on the day, that I enjoyed what life I had. Almost anyone who's flown in an aircraft has played a similar "What if we all die?" scenario in their minds, even if just half-consciously while watching the safety demonstration.

Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 10:04am

In the third season of Girls on HBO, whose season finale aired at the end of March, Hannah Horvath, age twenty-five, is at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York with seven friends. A renaissance-revival design concept by artist Julian Schnabel,the $929 suite is Hannah’s to review for her advertorial job at GQ, and she has decided to throw a party. Her boyfriend is making his Broadway debut. Her best friend Marnie has a chance at being a folk songstress, and Hannah herself is secretly applying to the Iowa Writers Workshop. Packed into a deluxe hotel room, these twenty-somethings entertain visions of success larger than their own lives. 

 

Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 10:09am

 

The beloved British travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor’s long-awaited last book made it into print in March, three years after his death and seventy-nine after the adventure that inspired it. The Broken Road is the third and last volume of Leigh Fermor’s winsome, nostalgic, and poetic memoir of his two-year walk across Europe to Constantinople, as the philhellene Leigh Fermor called Istanbul to the end.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 1:40pm

1.     The Origin of the Species.

 

Put the yellow kettle on. Ignore the floors in desperate need of cleaning. Fill the small metal base of the Bialetti with water (just to the safety valve). Spoon coffee from the ice-cold Viennese candy tin into the funnel. Screw the top on (tight, but not too much so) and put it on the stove. Don’t let the flame overtake it. Tuck the yellow and green-leafed curtain behind its hook. Look out at the ugly building across the way, the Greek and American flags, the third floor doors to an abandoned idea of balconies.

 

 

Monday, February 3, 2014 - 10:05am

Hello, everybody. My name is Julia, and I am becoming an Internet genealogy addict. I don’t believe in higher powers, except, like, the NSA and the IRS. So I must rely on my failing willpower. Unless you find a rich uncle, Internet genealogy is hard to justify as useful. Why should I care that four hundred years ago, some remote ancestor was a rabbi in Moravia? Geni.com, where I listed my family tree, says it has 74,346,170 people on its site. I’m already up to 1,820 blood relatives.

 

Monday, January 27, 2014 - 5:59pm

We met friends north of Seattle, then drove to catch the ferry to Orcas Island and talked about Washington’s bikini baristas.  It would be another three hours before the ferry left, so we walked through cars and trucks parked in lanes straight as garden rows to the snack shop and overpaid for sandwiches, a banana, soda.  You sat on the asphalt behind a Chevy Tahoe, petting a pit bull someone had tied to the trailer hitch, and I took your picture.

 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 10:39am

 

As I approached the corner of Throop Avenue and Van Buren Street in early summer 2013, I couldn't help but notice the giant "Murder - $50,000 Reward" sign that loomed over the intersection, emblazoned with the photo of a dead businessman. The New York City neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, I'd heard, was still a little "rough," but the sign was unlike anything I'd seen outside of Wild West movies. Almost comically, the image was plastered with a blood-red 'Solved' caption, as though calling out a fatuous warning: attention, would-be Bed-Stuy murderers - you might, eventually, be caught.

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