Category Archives: Blog

Author Interview: Kristen-Paige Madonia


 

I first met Kristen-Paige Madonia two years ago. Her writing is forthright and honest. It is this earnestness that stands out the most, employed to great effect as a penetrating light to plumb the depths of her characters’ inner lives, motivations, and secrets. She was kind enough to sit down with me to talk about her debut from Simon and Schuster, Fingerprints of You, which will come out August 7. The novel centers around Lemon Williams, who has bounced from place to place, led by her peripatetic mother, Stella. After she becomes pregnant, Lemon buys a Greyhound … Continue reading Author Interview: Kristen-Paige Madonia

The Internet: The Air Conditioning of the 21st Century


 

Up until a few days ago, when it was returned in a glorious shower of shooting stars and singing angels, the internet connection at my house had been out for about a month. I suppose its absence could have been an opportunity for reflection, an exploration of what life is like without an electronic leash, without an instantaneous connection to the larger world, but mostly it was just annoying. I couldn’t check my email … so I just did it at work. I couldn’t download things … so I just did it at a coffee shop. … Continue reading The Internet: The Air Conditioning of the 21st Century

Power Failures


 

On a wintry late afternoon in the early 1960s, I was driving from Providence, Rhode Island, where I studied at Brown University, to my apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts. I did this three days a week – a ride of anywhere from one-and-a-half to two hours, depending on weather and traffic conditions. Sometimes I took the train in the morning and my husband Darryl would come to pick me up in the afternoon. This seemed a reasonable accommodation to the fact that the one job he’d been offered was in Boston, while my one fellowship was … Continue reading Power Failures

The Sea, The Sea


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was a serious student of Platonic idealism, in addition to being a highly successful novelist. Her exploits as scholar and philosopher – she was fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford – add a resonance to her work that gives critics plenty to speculate about, but the most interesting thing for me, about Murdoch, is her cool-headed skill as a storyteller. Over the course of a long writing career, she produced more than twenty engrossing tales. Her novel, The Sea, The Sea is a prime example – and a good place … Continue reading The Sea, The Sea

Ode to the Long Form

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In contrast to my subject matter, I will try to be brief: I don’t have any long range studies to back this up, but I think communication is getting, in general, faster and briefer. I have anecdotal evidence galore; the text message has replaced email which replaced phone conversation which replaced the handwritten letter. Newspaper articles have been overtaken by blurbs on a blog (which may be soon sunsetted by tweets). I have a bit of empirical evidence too, like how in nightly news stories, sound bites from U.S. Presidential candidates have gone from an average of … Continue reading Ode to the Long Form

“Whose Boundaries Are That of Imagination”


 

A couple of weeks ago I discovered the original “Twilight Zone” series was available on Netflix Instant. Needless to say I have (happily) surrendered hours of my life re-watching this classic series, which I still believe is one of the very few truly great things to have aired on television. (“The Muppet Show” is probably a close second.) The far-reaching influence of the show is undeniable. The twists and bitter ironies for which the show was famous have informed dozens of tropes in film and popular culture (including fiction). A quick survey of the first season, … Continue reading “Whose Boundaries Are That of Imagination”

Poetry as Reprieve


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]In my twenties I thought of language as a bridge, not from one place to another, but above an abyss. The damnation waiting below was ordinary chaos, the dissonant march of hours, the rush of unsorted, simultaneous emotions – terror, desire, depression, exultation – swirling together without structure or purpose. Raw consciousness, natural and unimpeded. I needed some artifact of the patterning mind to survive nothing more terrible than my daily life, and I found in words the material for these necessary shapings. I had always loved words, found them concrete, caressable. Never a … Continue reading Poetry as Reprieve

What You Don’t See


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]In 2006, Farrar Straus and Giroux published Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox, a medley of previously uncollected work by Elizabeth Bishop (edited by Alice Quinn, poetry editor of The New Yorker and executive director of the Poetry Society of America). Running to over three hundred pages, it’s a bigger book than any book of poetry Bishop published in her lifetime and includes all sorts of things: juvenilia, scraps of unfinished poetry, and prose pieces of many kinds, in varying degrees of completion. “For those who love Elizabeth Bishop, “ said John Ashbery (perhaps … Continue reading What You Don’t See

Art in Albemarle and Beyond…{issue no.1}


 

Maybe it’s the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maybe it’s the red clay, rolling pastures, horse farms, holsteins and herefords. Of course, it could be Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village. Whatever the lure, Charlottesville and Albemarle County have an abundance of talented and varied visual artists. Streetlight looks forward to highlighting many of their works in the months ahead. Our first issue features the black and white photographs of Bill Emory and the paintings and mixed media of Rosamond Casey, both Charlottesville residents. Emory’s fine photographs document the past and present, candid and mysterious images confronting family, cows … Continue reading Art in Albemarle and Beyond…{issue no.1}

Wanted: Delusions of Grandeur


 

[frame align=”right”]  [/frame]Taken at face value, writing is a bit of an odd enterprise: Writers work alone, spending inordinate amounts of time and energy on something with absolutely no guarantee of success. In fact, the whole endeavor seems insane. And yet. Anyone who writes, and is brave enough to say it publicly, has probably been confronted by the question, Why do you write? There are sophisticated answers involving “the human condition” or “art” or the like. But, after the terrified pause, the moment to gather one’s thoughts at the brink of the abyss, the answer, I think, is … Continue reading Wanted: Delusions of Grandeur