Monthly Archives: May 2007

Tao Lin, "Insomnia for a Better Tomorrow"

A guy feels like nothing will ever happen.

(from Bed)

The guy was right. This story was unrelentingly precious, like a bustling Hummel colony. I can’t tell how self-aware the author was of his own self-awareness, but the presence of a Garden State reference suggests to me that he thinks being precious is fun. It can be. No surprise, Lin was listening to Bright Eyes when he wrote it, according to this interview (link).

Kim Church, "Bullet"

The robber said “This bullet’s for you” so she gave him the money.

(from Painted Bride Quarterly, Print Annual #2)

How did you feel when you realized what had happened?”

“I don’t know. Sick. Mad. But mostly I was just glad he left without hurting me. Mostly I felt grateful.”

“You were grateful?” Like it’s the wrong answer. Like grateful isn’t enough to satisfy a TV audience.

“Gratefulness can fool you,” I would tell her. “It’s a stronger feeling than you think. In fact, I’d put gratefulness up there with the big ones. It can feel like love, or grief, that strong.”

Really cool little story. I feel like giving anything away would be giving away too much, seeing as how this is a two-pager. Basically, “Bullet” makes you feel like everything’s wrong in the world up until it reminds you that some things are right. There’s a bit of a media critique in here, a theoretical TV anchor who just doesn’t get it. But not in some Big Satire way. It was real and harsh. But also peaceful, in a way.
Read the story here, via some cached Google action.

Wells Tower, "On The Show"

After fighting with his stepdad our narrator runs away and joins the circus.

(Harper’s, May 2007)

You know, that whole running-away-to-join-the-circus thing is such a strange cliche, so unattached to the way the world works these days, that this story employs the conceit unscathed. Of course, we’re not 100% sure this story is set in these days, but, seriously, were there ever days where circus-joining was commonplace for wayward youth?
You have to buy the Harper’s to read this story. (You can’t just steal these mockups of the pages and enlarge them; I tried.) It’s a good magazine, well worth the $6.95 cover price (or $10 subscription rate.).