Tin House #30: Winter Reading

The weather here is static: cold, cold, cold.  I haven’t seen the sun in days, although there’s actually blue in the sky this morning.  It’s been a perpetual white ceiling of clouds, smog, sagging precipitation.  The white fog puts a drag on the day, gives an inevitable feel to wakefulness and sleepfulness; days, evenings, and nights tick away in an unconsequential fashion, but definitively (if blandly) nonetheless. The opening story of Tin House #30, Stuart Dybek’s “The Start of Something,” is both playful and sombre in its mood to capture this ticking and churning of time.  It’s a beautiful little piece trying to hone out the beginnings and ends of things; it might be a short short, only about 3 full pages. Also in this issue is an essay by Anthony Doerr titled “We are Mapmakers,” Time and space are no obstacle: around the earth with the stories of Alice Munro. I’m looking forward to it; I love Munro, and time and space are indeed two of the first concepts (second and third to humanity) that I think of when I think of Munro. Most of the issue looks really good, but I spotted on item that made me say, eh, really? Steve Almond has a piece in this issue called “Condifreaks Speak: A Hate Mail Colloquy.” Now, I love Steve Almond’s work, and he seems like a pretty cool guy. But this piece is him replying to hate mail he received after publicly resigning from Boston College when Condoleeza Rice was invited to be the commencement speaker. I just thought I’d never have to hear about the Boston College thing again. I mean, really. It was a public gesture that made a bit of a splash, but hasn’t the water stilled? Anyway, it looks like a good issuse of Tin House.

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