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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Family Is Buried In A Car Park, by S.J. Velasquez, BBC

It's hardly the first time that infrastructure or construction projects have brushed up against the resting places for the dead: They can sometimes be found in car parks of malls, and the careful excavation of mass burial sites has caused delays to rail-line construction in the UK.

A less common spot, however? In the shadows of a stadium belonging to a team that's part of the most profitable, popular sporting league in the United States.

Tacos / Takos, by Aaron Gilbreath, The Smart Set

That’s when the idea came to me: open a food cart in downtown Kyoto that sells authentic Mexican food. Why just visit Japan, I figured, when I could live there? It was brash, impractical and never going to happen. But the seed was planted: There was an enormous, untapped economic and cultural opportunity to serve authentic, delicious Mexican food in an enchanting place that had little of it. There were crazier ideas — not that I was pursuing those either, but it felt good knowing I wasn’t the craziest of the crazy. There was some logic to it. In the midst of handmade onigiri vendors, donburi chains, and unagi restaurants, why not sell street tacos? [...] The problem was, I’d never open that restaurant. I couldn’t manage a business, and my life was firmly established in Oregon.

In lieu of a restaurant, I dreamed up something equally impractical: a magazine for Japanese people who dig Mexican food and have limited access to it. Named Taco Wagon after the iconic lonchero lunch truck and Dick Dale’s 1964 instrumental surf song, the magazine would combine elements of a cookbook, guide book, art book, and zine to celebrate food from northern Mexico, southern California and the American Southwest, what people call Sonora- and California-style Mexican food. This I could create from home.

Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry, by Dan Chiasson, New Yorker

But Dickinson’s genius always kept a fixed address. She was a scholar of passing time, and the big house on Main Street was the best place to study it. Because her subject was longitudinal change across the span of hours, days, and years, she needed to set her spatial position in order to see time move across the proscenium of her subjective imagination. In the 1850 national census, Dickinson listed her occupation as “keeping house”; the scraps might have kept her as she did so. Her own transformative power, often frightful even for her to contemplate, is their presiding subject: the “still—Volcano—Life” she describes as ever churning under her daily rounds.

The Comfort Of Writing Guides: On Benjamin Percy’s “Thrill Me”, by Ian Denning, Ploughshares

But is that really so bad? Writing is hard, and a whirl of positivity can be the updraft an aspiring fiction writer needs to reach new heights. A good-but-not-groundbreaking craft book is a cheerleader, an encouraging letter from a friend. It doesn’t have to flip your understanding of writing on its head in order for it be successful; it just has to reassure you that you’re not the first person to face these particular problems. If it’s not new—well, few craft questions in prose-writing are.