Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction

By Dinah Lenney

The better of brief literary memoirs, essays, and reflections, a lot of that have been written expressly for this assortment. additionally available

The past due Judith Kitchen, editor of the perennially well known anthologies Short Takes, In Short, and In Brief, used to be drastically influential in spotting and setting up flash artistic nonfiction as a kind in its personal correct. In Brief Encounters, she and writer/editor/actor Dinah Lenney extend this vivid box with approximately 80 new decisions: shorts―as those sharply targeted items have end up identified― representing a magnificent variety of voices, views, sensibilities, and varieties. Brief Encounters positive factors the paintings of the rising and the established―including Stuart Dybek, Roxanne homosexual, Eduardo Galeano, Leslie Jamison, and Julian Barnes―arranged by way of subject to discover the human in methods intimate, idiosyncratic, humorous, unhappy, provocative, lyrical, unflinching. From the rant to the rave, the meditation to the polemic, the confession to the valediction, this choice of shorts―this party of precise and vibrant prose―will amplify your international.

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The Ridpath is a grand outdated dame, says the guy on the door. within smells fusty, like hair oil, the again of your grandmother’s sofa. The foyer is darkish and one way or the other heavy, like your coat, that you now permit fall open. The middle-age clerk calls you by way of your grandmother’s identify, arms you the main, slides his hands throughout your palm. You wince a grin, take the elevator on your room, that is greater than many of the shacks you’ve lived in. You take a seat at the mattress, stare on the cell. The dance membership you’ve heard loads about—best bands, top booze, top boys—is too some distance to stroll on your four-inch heels.

I need her for my very own. i would like her affinity with all these chickens, her lopsided leaning, her condo all atilt. i need that tipping chimney and the perspective of her neck as she shall we one chicken push its means into her center, one other pose as a hat. i need that useful gown and the lengthy black stockings, even the practical sneakers. the sunshine that fattens itself on late-afternoon home windows, and the shadows that prolong the backyard. The chickens that peck at their shadows, whittling away at their lives. examine the way in which mild catches every one shingle, each one brick, every one clapboard lining the facet of the home.

I studied its shapelessness. I couldn’t inform if it was once alive. I rolled it in a leaf, scraped a bit trough within the flooring, and lay it inside of, brushed over it a little airborne dirt and dust and leaf mould. With a sprig, I poked a small respiring gap via its hide for an air-tube. I didn’t think of rain or the probing proboscises of predators. For days i assumed of it in the market within the woods, less than the canopy of airborne dirt and dust, the times lengthening and warming, and imagined it eventually emerging, the one moth locally unhindered through the binding silk threads of its cocoon, chickening out immediately out of the earth.

Emotions are like that: choral, no longer unmarried; combined, by no means natural. The sentimentalist should want to deny the disappointment or boredom in his happiness, or the liberty that lightens even the worst loss. The moralist will face up to his faint complicity. The sophisticate, dreading to be stumbled on naïve, will exclaim upon the strains of shallowness or lust in any rationale, as though they have been the full. every one is promoting himself simplicity; each one is weakened along with his worry of weak spot. Why should still the complete lake have an identical identify? There are silences tougher to take again than phrases.

The swing the place occasionally now I sway, swooping ahead, falling again, swooping ahead, falling again, buzzing the rhythm of the wind. A dusty bowl underneath the seat patters stories of naked toes and sweeping trips to the sky, excessive above the nesting owls and clammy salamander rocks. i ponder if she traveled to China in that seat, over the Pacific Rim, round the Arctic Circle, into the land of by no means by no means. i'm wondering if she laid her stomach flat around the wood board, draping like a boy’s limp customary cat and twisted, twisted, twisted the ropes in tiny circles round and round and round until eventually her feet may possibly slightly contact and the ropes have been tight as knots after which enable go—spinning spinning spinning quickly ponytails whipping horizontal branches sky and dusty earth and dizzy dizzy dizzy and the mossy blurring bark until eventually her eyes and brain and breathless stomach hollered cease!

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