March 22, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send us your best portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-person photos for a chance to win a Frank Clegg briefcase. Read on for a slideshow of exceedingly sensitive finalists … and one gloriously pretentious winner!
This would be mid- to late eighties. I had just finished writing my first novel, calling it Bad Girls of Ireland. I would like to note, for the record, that while the book remains unpublished, I stand firm in my belief that it was the first to wear that “bad girls” label which became a thing in the early nineties (before we had memes, kiddies).
At the time I thought it was an appropriately high/low moniker to slap on two hundred pages that were (let’s be honest) too esoteric to be legible to anyone else on earth; in retrospect it sounds kind of cheesy. I think you had to be there. Influences? Joyce, naturellement. Nabokov, Calvino, Rilke, Duras, Cortázar, all of those Zone books about the body. Jung! Was I a mo girl swimming in a pomo stream, or the reverse? From the outside my life looked way more like a Tama Janowitz story than the Kathy Acker one that was going on in my head, right down to the jewelry-selling on the street. Earrings—singletons only, made out of broken glass I collected at bus stops. Some insufficiently considered “performance art.” You get the picture. Read More »
March 8, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Here is the youngest resident of the Hotel Duncan taking a “sensitivity break” from his senior thesis, on the fin-de-siècle poet Trumbull Stickney, 1995: “But that I know these places are my own / I’d ask how came such wretchedness to cumber / The earth, and I to people it alone. // It rains across the country I remember.” —Lorin Stein
Remember! Whether you had a Romantic phase, a Beat fixation, an Aesthetic idyll, send us your picture of yourself at your most self-seriously bookish and you could win a Frank Clegg English Briefcase. Send your picture, along with a brief description of your influences of the time, to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be in by Monday, March 11. (Luckily for you, staff is ineligible; this is hard to top!)
February 4, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
I had a briefcase at one point, but it was a kind of 1980s new wave briefcase. It was made of some kind of cardboard and it had metal hinges. It was kind of faux industrial looking, and I used to carry my books in it rather than a backpack. I didn’t want to have normal student accoutrements.
We know the feeling. If you too had a visibly bookish phase, we want to see it: send in a picture of yourself at your most literary, and, in honor of youthful self-seriousness everywhere, you could win a Frank Clegg English Briefcase. Send your picture, along with a brief description of your influences of the time, to email@example.com.
December 10, 2012 | by The Paris Review
November 19, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold for all the summer beyond the panes, for all the tropical heat of the room itself, a harsh thin light glared through the windows, hungrily seeking some draped lay figure, some pallid shape of academic goose-flesh, but finding only the glass and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of a laboratory. Wintriness responded to wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with a pale corpse-coloured rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Only from the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it borrow a certain rich and living substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak in long recession down the work tables. —Brave New World
As should be perfectly obvious from the above quote, we are giving away a pair of cozy, woolen Etre gloves (made by one of the last British glove manufacturers) to the person who can make the best, most apt Thanksgiving turkey from Aldous Huxley’s handprint. Will your turkey be chrome yellow? Savage? Dystopian? Psychedelic? Whatever your motif, send your turkey, be it photoshopped, collaged and scanned, handpainted, to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1st.
July 25, 2012 | by The Paris Review
Our inbox runneth over! We asked you to describe the facing image in three hundred words—in the style of Ernest Hemingway, P. G. Wodehouse, Joan Didion, Elizabeth Bishop, or Ray Bradbury—and some two hundred of you did just that. We had hoped to announce a winner yesterday, but it took us this long just to read through all the manly terseness, Jeevesian whimsy, California deadpan, villanelles (“Write it! Pedal faster”), and Martiana. Plus a surprising number of entries that went their own way and ignored the “in the style of” part of the contest—thereby forfeiting the chance to win a bicycle but showing impressive powers of imagination when it comes to devils and flappers on wheels.
The Drones’ First Annual Charity Tour De Blandings and Fancy Dress Ball took a wrong turn when Freddie Widgeon and Billie Mainwaring arrived. Somehow each had misread the invitation and got the idea that the cycling was fancy dress. Billie came as a “Muse of Modern Dance,” all chiffon and gauze and trailing scarves. Isadora Duncan on a velocipede. Freddie had on a fearfully complete devil’s costume, though how he’d pedal in those hoof-shaped boots got right past me.