Large laundry and dry cleaning chains usually have thousands of items that have gone unclaimed. Manufacturers also have shirts, dresses and suits for rockbottom prices because of a crooked seam or other fuck-up. Stores have reduced rates on display models: Mannequins are mostly all size 40 for men and 10 for women. If you are these sizes, you can get top styles for less than half price. The Vietnamese and people throughout the Third World make a fantastically durable and comfortable pair of sandals out of rubber tires.
They cut out a section of the outer tire trace around the outside of the foot with a piece of chalk which when trimmed forms the sole. Next 6 slits re made in the sole so the rubber straps can be criss-crossed and slid through the slits.
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The straps are made out of inner tubing. No nails are needed. If you have wide feet, use the new wide tread low profiles. For hard going, try radials. For best satisfaction and quality, steal the tires off a pig car or a government limousine. Let's face it, if you really are into beating the clothing problem, move to a warm climate and run around naked. Skin is absolutely free, and will always be in style. Speaking of style, the midi and the maxi have obvious advantages when it comes to shoplifting and transporting weapons or bombs. Apartment lobbies are good for all kinds of neat furniture.
If you want to get fancy about it, rent a truck not one that says U-HAUL-IT or other rental markings and make the pick-up with moving-man-type uniforms. When schools are on strike and students hold seminars and debate into the night, Yippies can be found going through the dorm lobbies and storage closets hauling off couches, desks, printing supplies, typewriters, mimeos, etc. A nervy group of Yippies in the Midwest tried to swipe a giant IBM computer while a school was in turmoil.
All power to those that bring a wheelbarrow to sit-ins. Check into a high-class hotel or motel remembering to dress like the wallpaper. Carry a large dummy suitcase with you and register under a phony name. Make sure you and not the bellboy carry this bag. Use others as a decoy. When you get inside the room, grab everything you can stuff in the suitcase: This will give you an extra few hours to beat it across the border or check into a new hotel.
Landlords renovating buildings throw out stoves, tables, lamps, refrigerators and carpeting. In most cities, each area has a day designated for discarding bulk objects. Call the Sanitation Department and say you live in that part of town which would be putting out the most expensive shit and find out the pick-up day. Fantastic buys can be found cruising the streets late at night. Check out the backs of large department stores for floor models, window displays and slightly damaged furniture being discarded.
Construction sites are a good source for building materials to construct furniture. Not to mention explosives. Cinderblocks, bricks and boards can quickly be turned into a sharp looking bookcase. Nail kegs convert into stools or chairs. You can also always find a number of other supplies hanging around like wiring, pipes, lighting fixtures and hard hats.
And don't forget those blinking signs and the red lanterns for your own light show. Those black oil-fed burners are O. Certainly one of the neatest ways of getting where you want to go for nothing is to hitch. In the city it's a real snap. Just position yourself at a busy intersection and ask the drivers for a lift when they stop for the red light. If you're hitching on a road where the traffic zooms by pretty fast, be sure to stand where the car will have room to safely pull off the road. Traveling long distances, even cross-country, can be easy if you have some sense of what you are doing.
A lone hitch-hiker will do much better than two or more. A man and woman will do very well together. Single women are certain to get propositioned and possibly worse. Amerikan males have endless sexual fantasies about picking up a poor lonesome damsel in distress. Unless your karate and head are in top form, women should avoid hitching alone. Telling men you have V. New England and the entire West Coast are the best sections for easy hitches.
The South and Midwest can sometimes be a real hassle. Easy Rider and all that. The best season to hitch is in the summer. Daytime is much better than night. If you have to hitch at night, get under some type of illumination where you'll be seen. Hitch-hiking is legal in most states, but remember you always can get a "say-so" bust. A "say-so" arrest is to police what Catch is to the Army.
When you ask why you're under arrest, the pig answers, "cause I say-so. If you've got long hair, cops will often stop to play games. You can wear a hat with your hair tucked under to avoid hassles. However this might hurt your ability to get rides, since many straights will pick up hippies out of curiosity who would not pick up a straight scruffy looking kid. Freak drivers usually only pick up other freaks. Once in a while you hear stories of fines levied or even a few arrests for hitching Flagstaff, Arizona is notorious , but even in the states where it is illegal, the law is rarely enforced.
If you're stopped by the pigs, play dumb and they'll just tell you to move along. You can wait until they leave and then let your thumb hang out again. Hitchin on super highways is really far out. It's illegal but you won't get hassled if you hitch at the entrances. On a fucked-up exit, take your chances hitching right on the road, but keep a sharp eye out for porkers.
When you get a ride be discriminating. Find out where the driver is headed. If you are at a good spot, don't take a ride under a hundred miles that won't end up in a location just as good. When the driver is headed to an out-of-the-way place, ask him to let you off where you can get the best rides.
If he's going to a particularly small town, ask him to drive you to the other side of thy town line. It's usually only a mile or two. Small towns often enforce all sorts of "say-so" ordinances. If you get stuck on the wrong side of town, it would be wise to even hoof it through the place. Getting to a point on the road where the cars are inter-city rather than local traffic is always preferable. When you hit the road you should have a good idea of how to get where you are going. You can pick up a free map at any gas station.
Long distance routes, road conditions, weather and all sorts of information can be gotten free by calling the American Automobile Association in any city. Say that you are a member driving to Phoenix, Arizona or wherever your destination is, and find out what you want to know. Always carry a sign indicating where you are going.
If you get stranded on the road without one, ask in a diner or gas station for a piece of cardboard and a magic marker. Make the letters bold and fill them in so they can be seen by drivers from a distance. If your destination is a small town, the sign should indicate the state.
Unless, of course, you're going north or south. A phony foreign flag sewed on your pack also helps. Carrying dope is not advisable, and although searching you is illegal, few pigs can read the Constitution. If you are carrying when the patrol car pulls up, tell them you are Kanadian and hitching through Amerika.
Highway patrols are very uptight about promoting incidents with foreigners. The foreign bit goes over especially well with small-town types, and is also amazingly good for avoiding hassles with greasers. If you can't hack this one, tell them you are a reporter for a newspaper writing a feature story on hitching around the country. This story has averted many a bust. Don't be shy when you hitch.
Go into diners and gas stations and ask people if they're heading East or to Texas. Sometimes gas station attendants will help. When in the car be friendly as hell. Offer to share the driving if you've got a license. If you're broke, you can usually bum a meal or a few bucks, maybe even a free night's lodging. Never be intimidated into giving money for a ride. As for what to carry when hitching, the advice is to travel light. The rule is to make up a pack of the absolute minimum, then cut that in half.
Hitching is an art form as is all survival. Master it and you'll travel on a free trip forever. There is a way to hitch long distances that has certain advantages over letting your thumb hang out for hours on some two-laner. Learn about riding the trains and you'll always have that alternative. Hitchhiking at night can be impossible, but hopping a is easier at night than by day.
By hitchhiking days and hopping freights and sleeping on them at night, you can cover incredible distances rapidly and stay well rested. Every city and most large towns have a freight yard. You can find it by following the tracks or asking where the freight yard is located. When you get to the yard, ask the workmen when the next train leaving in your direction will be pulling out. Unlike the phony Hollywood image, railroad men are nice to folks who drop by to grab a ride.
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Most yards don't have a guard or a "bull" as they are called. Even if they do, he is generally not around. If there is a bull around, the most he's going to do is tell you it's private property and ask you to leave. There are exceptions to this rule, such as the notorious Lincoln, Nebraska, and Las Vegas, Nevada, but by asking you can find out. Even if he asks you to leave or throws you out, sneak back when your train is pulling out and jump aboard. After you've located the right train for your trip, hunt for an empty boxcar to ride.
The men in the yards will generally point one out if you ask. Pig-sties, flat cars and coal cars are definitely third class due to exposure to the elements. Boxcars are by far the best. They are clean and the roof over your head helps in bad weather and cuts down the wind. Boxcars with a hydro-cushion suspension system used for carrying fragile cargo make for the smoothest ride.
Unless you get one, you should be prepared for a pretty bumpy and noisy voyage. You should avoid cars with only one door open, because the pin may break, locking you in. A car with both doors open gives you one free chance. Pig-backs trailers on flatcars are generally considered unsafe. Most trains make a number of short hops, so if time is an important factor try to get on a "hot shot" express.
A hot shot travels faster and has priority over other trains in crowded yards. You should favor a hot shot even if you have to wait an extra hour or two or more to get one going your way. If you're traveling at night, be sure to dress warmly. You can freeze your ass off. Trains might not offer the most comfortable ride, but they go through beautiful countryside that you'd never see from the highway or airway.
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There are no billboards, road signs, cops, Jack-in-the-Boxes, gas stations or other artifacts of honky culture. You'll get dirty on the trains so wear old clothes. Don't pass up this great way to travel cause some bullshit western scared you out of it. If you know how to drive and want to travel long distances, the auto transportation agencies are a good deal. Rules vary, but normally you must be over 21 and have a valid license.
Call up and tell them when and where you want to go and they will let you know if they have a car available. They give you the car and a tank of gas free. You pay the rest. Go to pick up the car alone, then get some people to ride along and help with the driving and expenses. You can make New York to San Francisco for about eighty dollars in tolls and gas in four days without pushing. Usually you have the car for longer and can make a whole thing out of it. You must look straight when you go to the agency. This can be simply be done by wetting down your hair and shoving it under a cap.
Another good way to travel cheaply is to find somebody who has a car and is going your way. Usually underground newspapers list people who either want rides or riders. Another excellent place to find information is your local campus. Every campus has a bulletin board for rides. Head shops and other community-minded stores have notices up on the wall. If you have a car and need some gas late at night you can get a quart and then some by emptying the hoses from the pumps into your tank. There is always a fair amount of surplus gas left when the pumps are shut off.
If your traveling in a car and don't have enough money for gas and tolls, stop at the bus station and see if anybody wants a lift. If you find someone, explain your money situation and make a deal with him. Hitch-hikers also can be asked to chip in on the gas. You can carry a piece of tubing in the trunk of your car and when the gas indicator gets low, pull up to a nice looking Cadillac on some dark street and syphon off some of his gas.
Just park your car so the gas tank is next to the Caddy's, or use a large can. Stick the hose into his tank, suck up enough to get things flowing, and stick the other end into your tank. Having a lower level of liquid, you tank will draw gas until you and the Caddy are equal. Bet you hadn't realized until now that the law of gravity affects economics. Another way is to park in a service station over their filler hole.
Lift off one lid like a small manhole cover , run down twenty feet of rubber tubing thru the hole you've cut in your floorboard, then turn on the electric pump which you have installed to feed into your gas tank. All they ever see is a parked car. This technique is especially rewarding when you have a bus. If you'd rather leave the driving and the paying to them, try swiping a ride on the bus. Here's a method that has worked well. Get a rough idea of where the bus has stopped before it arrived at your station.
If you are not at the beginning or final stop on the route, wait until the bus you want pulls in and then out of the station. Make like the bus just pulled off without you while you went to the bathroom. If there is a station master, complain like crazy to him. Tell him you're going to sue the company if your luggage gets stolen. He'll put you on the next bus for free. If there is no station master, lay your sad tale on the next driver that comes along. If you know when the last bus left, just tell the driver you've been stranded there for eight hours and you left your kid sleeping on the other bus.
Tell him you called ahead to the company and they said to grab the next bus and they would take care of it. The next method isn't totally free but close enough. It's called the hopper-bopper. Find a bus that makes a few stops before it gets to where you want to go. The more stops with people getting in our out the better. Buy a ticket for the short hop and stay on the bus until you end up at your destination. You must develop a whole style in order to pull this off because the driver has to forget you are connected with the ticket you gave him.
Dress unobtrusively or make sure the driver hasn't seen your face. Pretend to be asleep when the short hop station is reached. If you get questioned, just act upset about sleeping through the stop you "really" want and ask if it's possible to get a ride back. Up and away, junior outlaws! If you really want to get where you're going in a hurry, don't forget skyjacker's paradise. Don't forget the airlines. They make an unbelievable amount of bread on their inflated prices, ruin the land with incredible amounts of polluting wastes and noise, and deliberately hold back aviation advances that would reduce prices and time of flight.
We know two foolproof methods to fly free, but unfortunately we feel publishing them would cause the airlines to change their policy. The following methods have been talked about enough, so the time seems right to make them known to a larger circle of friends. A word should be said right off about stolen tickets. Literally millions of dollars worth of airline tickets are stolen each year. If you have good underworld contacts, you can get a ticket to anywhere you want at one-fourth the regular price. If you are charged more, you are getting a slight rooking. In any case, you can get a ticket for any flight or date and just trade it in.
They are actually as good as cash, except that it takes 30 days to get a refund, and by then they might have traced the stolen tickets. If you can get a stolen ticket, exchange or use it as soon as possible, and always fly under a phony name. A stolen ticket for a trip around the world currently goes for one hundred and fifty dollars in New York. One successful scheme requires access to the mailbox of a person listed in the local phone book.
Let's use the name Ron Davis as an example. A woman calls one of the airlines with a very efficient sounding rap such as: Davis' secretary at Allied Chemical. He and his wife would like to fly to Chicago on Friday. Could you mail two first-class tickets to his home and bill us here at Allied? Order your tickets two days before you wish to travel, and pick them up at the mailbox or address you had them sent to.
If you are uptight in the airport about the tickets, just go up to another airline and have the tickets exchanged. One gutsy way to hitch a free ride is to board the plane without a ticket. This is how it works. Locate the flight you want and rummage through a wastebasket until you find an envelope for that particular airline.
Shuffle by the counter men which is fairly easy if it's busy. When the boarding call is made, stand in line and get on the plane. Flash the empty envelope at the stewardess as you board the plane. Carry a number of packages as a decoy, so the stewardess won t ask you to open the envelope. If she does, which is rare, and sees you have no ticket, act surprised. Run back down the ramp as if you're going to retrieve the ticket. Disappear and try later on a different airline. Nine out of ten revolutionaries say it's the only way to fly.
This trick works only on airlines that don't use the boarding pass system. If you want to be covered completely, use the hopper-bopper method described in the section on Buses, with this added security precaution. Buy two tickets from different cashiers, or better still, one from an agent in town. Both will be on the same flight. Only one ticket will be under a phony name and for the short hop, white the ticket under your real name will be for your actual destination.
At the boarding counter, present the short hop ticket. You will be given an envelope with a white receipt in it.
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Actually, the white receipt is the last leaf in your ticket. Once you are securely seated and aloft, take out the ticket with your name and final destination. Gently peel away everything but the white receipt. Place the still valid ticket back in your pocket. Now remove from the envelope and destroy the short hop receipt. In its place, put the receipt for the ticket you have in your pocket. When you land at the short hop airport, stay on the plane. Usually the stewardesses just ask you if you are remaining on the flight.
If you have to, you can actually show her your authentic receipt. When you get to your destination, you merely put the receipt back on the bonafide ticket that you still have in your pocket. It isn't necessary that they be glued together. Present the ticket for a refund or exchange it for another ticket. This method works well even in foreign countries. If you can't hack these shucks you should at least get a Youth Card and travel for half fare. If you are over twenty-two but still in your twenties, you can easily pass.
Get a card from a friend who has similar color hair and eyes. Your friend can easily get one from another airline. You can master your friend's signature and get a supporting piece of identification from him to back up your youth card if you find it necessary. If you have a friend who works for an airline or travel agency, just get a card under your own name and an age below the limit. Your friend can validate the card. Flying youth fare is on stand-by, so it's always a good idea to call ahead and book a number of reservations under fictitious names on the flight you'll be taking.
This will fuck up the booking of regular passengers and insure you a seat. By the way, if you fly cross-country a number of times, swipe one of the plug-in head sets. Always remember to pack it in your traveling bag. This way you'll save a two dollar fee charged for the in-flight movie. The headsets are interchangeable on all airlines. One way to fly free is to actually hitch a ride. Look for the private plane area located at every airport, usually in some remote part of the field.
You can find it by noticing where the small planes without airline markings take off and land. Go over to the runways and ask around. Often the mechanics will let you know when someone is leaving for your destination and point out a pilot. Tell him you lost your ticket and have to get back to school.
Single pilots often like to have a passenger along and it's a real gas flying in a small plane. Some foreign countries have special arrangements for free air travel to visiting writers, artists or reporters. Brazil and Argentina are two we know of for sure. I've loved graphic novels since I was a kid.
One of my favorite summer activities is buying one at a used bookstore, then sitting in a park and reading it all at once. I had given away my copy so I bought it again, biked to Greenlake and read about half of it. After they get frustrated with doctors, they start hiring psychics and subjecting their kids to weirder and weirder diets. Eventually, they join a cult and move into the woods.
The book takes place in France in the s, but it's human enough to feel time- and place-less. Reading it, I kept thinking of the episode Trust Issues did last year on these resorts in Florida that advertise swimming with dolphins as a cure for autism. Parents pay thousands of dollars to get their kids a few minutes of swimming time. Many of them come away convinced that it works, but their kids didn't get enough.
Or that their own behavior reversed the results somehow. Epileptic tells this story from the inside.
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It's hard for people to come to grips with conditions they don't experience themselves, and even harder to accept that there's no 'normal' they can ever return to. It was published in and is considered one of the first feminist sci-fi novels. At the time, writers were starting to put female characters into science fiction stories, but their female-ness was often sidelined.
Russ was not having any of that shit. Her book takes place in four parallel universes, one of which is a utopia in which men have been wiped out and women live together in peace. The story begins when a character from this all-female Xanadu — an out lesbian, another thing Russ refuses to apologize for — visits Earth and starts pointing out all the ways the women there are being abused and belittled by men.
Both books are odd years old but they still feel urgent. Most of the other people in the theater had apparently come in equally unfamiliar with the story. By the time Matt Damon spoiler killed Jude Law and embraced his dead body, probably a quarter of the theater had left. People were shouting at the screen. I was terrified my friends would suspect I was gay because I had suggested it. Since then I've never been able to rewatch it because it's always been this perfect little symbol of why I stayed in the closet for so long.
But then a friend suggested the series and I devoured the first two books. They came out 44 years before the movie, so the homosexuality is a lot more subtle. So anyway, I need to finish the series! I also need to try watching the movie again. Cienna is on her annual Fall spider quest, this column is a re-run from I received the worst rejection slip from a literary magazine in the mail the other day. My friends mostly say I should be happy I got a response at all, but that snotty little checkmark haunts my dreams.
Should I blog about this rejection letter experience, or would I just look like a bitter freelancer? Anyone worth their salt — or the salt of your tears — should have the decency to be both honest and kind in their rejection. Like this:. Thank you for your submission. Your piece was raw and moving, and I encourage you to continue submitting to other publications. You see, we are a literary magazine and thus we have a high bar to uphold in terms of both quality and content for our reader. From the feedback we receive, we know our reader is sophisticated, she enjoys sleepy short stories about the middle class in which nothing more startling happens than a blink.
You may have noticed that literary magazines are experiencing something of an ecdysis, like when a snake sheds its skin only to reveal a dead snake underneath. Imagine a carpet of dying, molting snakes. To mix a few metaphors, we are niched to the hilt. To Hell and back. Keep writing! The Seattle Review of Books is currently accepting pitches for reviews. Wondering what and how? See our Literary Event of the Week column for more details. Every month, Daneet Steffens uncovers the latest goings on in mystery, suspense, and crime fiction.
See previous columns on the Criminal Fiction archive page. In lates Glasgow, someone is killing women after picking them up at the popular Barrowland dancehall.
The proverbial outsider — in more ways than one — McCormack has a keen eye and a willingness to think far outside the investigative box, especially when whiffs of police corruption arise. When his own pursuit of the unknown suspect intersects with a major jewelry heist, the stage is plausibly set for manhunts, red herrings, and explosive denouements galore. Still recovering from a near-fatal brush with violence — and still pining after Kathy who is now engaged to another — Pete is reluctant when a new customer comes calling, particularly as the customer is a high-profile city gangster.
Nope, guess again. Shades of an early incarnation of a major social-media platform darken this novel in which rifts of sexism and corruption run like powerful fault-lines under the isolated campus and its supposedly sleepy Vermont town. And talk. What or who are your top five writing inspirations? Lightnin' Hopkins. My family. East Texas.
My office. My bed. The big yellow chair in my den. The armchair by the window in my living room. Pasadena Central Library. Toni Morrison. Pete Dexter. Larry Brown. Jane Smiley. Curtis Sittenfeld. Hermann Park. Half Price Books. Project Row Houses. For me, the most impressive part of the Marvel Comics exhibit that was on display at MoPop's Marvel: A Universe of Super Heroes exhibit last year wasn't one of the movie costumes or a human-sized statue of a Marvel hero.
No, the thing that immediately captured my imagination was a piece of art by Bill Sienkiewicz, the abstract comics illustrator who worked at Marvel in the s. It was a New Mutants promotional poster from , and it was a little bit like seeing a Jackson Pollock in person. The art featured the New Mutants , a young team of X-Men understudies, and their villains in classic superhero pin-up style. This wasn't a flat illustration.
Standing before that Sienkiewicz art wasn't just a nostalgia trip, or an amusement-part thrill, It deepened my appreciation for an artist who meant a lot to me as a kid. I always loved superhero comics, but the book that opened up the ideas of what comics could do as a medium was New Mutants. Written by longtime X-Men author Chris Claremont as a spin-off of the main title, the book was a mostly unexceptional series about young heroes until Sienkiewicz took over the art duties.
His work, which didn't share the obsession with realism that most 80s comics artists single-mindedly pursued, pretty much exploded my young mind. Sienkiewicz's drawings are consistently expressive and moody and surprising and energetic. Once he got onto New Mutants , Clarement began to up his scripting game to match the artwork: the stories became weirder, more interior, more full of enormous ideas that 9 out of ten comics artists couldn't begin to figure out how to illustrate.
The team worked together for a couple years, and then moved on to other work. Yesterday, as part of their ongoing 80th anniversary celebration, Marvel Comics brought Claremont and Sienkiewicz back together for a one-shot. It's kind of like a greatest hits album: the story evokes many of the themes and tics of the s series fear of growing up, anxiety about friends seeing us as we really are, obsession with bodily transformation in a self-conscious way.
Of course, no artist draws the same after a quarter century has passed, and Sienkiewicz's art is no exception. The art in War Children is a little less punk rock and a little more jazz: the story pauses for big full-page illustrations where Sienkiewicz can position characters into cool poses, and the cinematic storytelling has given way to long series of tight close-ups to show characters' emotions. It's not better or worse, just Both Claremont and Sienkiewicz are having a lot of fun here. The artist throws in a beautiful Ditko homage, and Claremont seems to be poking fun at his exposition-heavy script from way back when.
The story is nothing more than a reprisal of two or three villains who menaced the New Mutants team, with a lightweight threat that gets resolved and squarely packed away in the single issue. New readers will likely be befuddled by War Children. But for people like me, who found those New Mutants comics to be weirder and more enticing than any other books on the wire racks at the Rite Aid, it's is a magnificent reminder of what it felt like to see two disparate talents create a new magic by filtering their work through the lens of each others' gifts.
As part of their fabulous 70 mm film festival , Cinerama is showing several of film history's most gorgeous movies. Even if you're somebody who can't ordinarily tell the difference between a digitally projected movie and a movie shown on film, a 70 mm film at the Cinerama is an absolute delight. It screens this Friday and again on Sunday night as part of the festival. The film's analog special effects are more convincing than just about any digital effect you've ever seen.
The designs are gorgeous, the story is thought-provoking, and the slow pacing of the story is hypnotic. Put simply, there's more thought put into each square inch of than just about any other film. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece. I listened to a download from the Seattle Public Library , though you can also buy a copy of the audiobook from your local independent bookstore through Libro.
It's a bracing account of the making of one of the best movies in the history of film. Both men were at the height of their powers, and they egged each other on into making the film bigger, more portentous, higher-concept. Benson's account of the making of the film tracks from its very first conception through its release, and it's a loving biography. Kubrick is a complicated character; some accounts portray him as a merciless asshole while others position him as more a tortured genius. Benson falls somewhere in the middle: the interviews he relays in the book argue that Kubrick is so detail-obsessed that he's almost impossible to work for, but most people understood that this difficulty was the price you paid to take part in something great.
Space Odyssey is a great book to listen to as you're walking or bicycling around; the stakes are low, the characters are interesting, and the book is packed with bizarre anecdotes about the lengths the two men went to bring their vision to life. And by the end, you'll be filled with an insatiable desire to watch In other words, it's the perfect audiobook for this week in Seattle, when the best movie theater in town prepares to show what many argue is the best movie of all time. Christopher Leonard's book Kochland is a remarkable piece of journalism that digs deep into the secretive lives of the Koch brothers.
It's a corporate biography of Koch Industries — from its first busted union to its worldwide domination — and a biography of Charles Koch and a map of the labyrinthine political action organization founded by the Kochs. If you'd like to understand why we're in the mess that we're in, you can't really find a better guide than Kochland. It outlines the corporate and political abuses that created our modern world. I interviewed Leonard onstage at Town Hall early last month, coincidentally just a couple of weeks after David Koch died.
What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation. Thank you for writing this book. I really enjoyed it. It's a really interesting way of looking at a lot of the problems that are coming to a head in America right now.
The most important thing is not knowing what you're getting into at the beginning. I started in late I've been a business reporter for 20 years now, and at that time I had a lot of pretty profound concerns that were really bothering me — stuff I wanted to write about, stuff I wanted to do and explore. I had this a-ha moment that Koch Industries was the perfect canvas to paint on, through which I could explore all of these things. I realized early on that I could put my head in this for what I thought was going to be three years, because the company is so diversified and so widespread.
First of all, this corporation is enormous, right? It's gigantic. But what really draws me to it is that this company specializes in the kinds of businesses we need to survive, but that we don't like directly interact with everyday. There's no Koch brand name on this stuff, but — not to sound hyperbolic — it is all around us.
Koch makes the fuel we use to drive everywhere we go. They work on the pipeline systems and natural gas systems that deliver a lot of the electricity we use. They make the carpeting material and the synthetic fibers in our clothing. They make sensors in our phones.
They make nitrogen fertilizer, which we don't think we buy, but it's literally the bedrock of our food system. And so what that means when you write about it is you're writing about blue-collar manufacturing workers on the factory floor, you're writing about high-flying finance, trading derivatives and commodities and the whole Wall Street thing that has become so important in America, you're writing about corporate lobbyists who are shaping our public policy—all within the framework of this one company.
I don't know if any other CEO in America has had the job that long. He'd probably use it himself. And he represents one extreme pole in this huge and bitter debate we're having in our country right now, about what role government can play. He believes we need to have this free-market utopian libertarian thing, and he spent his whole life trying to reshape America to be in that image. So it really crystallizes this debate we're having in the country. Charles Koch is a private person, and writing about him must've been a challenge. Did that contribute to the time that the book took to write?
Because you paint a pretty full portrait of somebody who is not a very open person. Yeah, that definitely contributed to it. It was like crawling over glass — I'm not even going to lie. The company is privately held, so they don't have to disclose financial records or much of anything. And then they have a deep baked-in culture of secrecy. It's an extremely insular organization. The first time I went, in , I could drive right up to their headquarters. After that they renovated the campus, and part of the renovation was they added a foot-tall wall around the north side.
So the next time I went in, it was literally like entering a fortress. It was so telling about how insular and self-contained this place is. People don't want to talk about it and people don't want to talk about Charles Koch without his permission. So, yes, it took years of flying to Wichita and knocking on people's doors. It took two years to convince one person to go on the record in the book. It took a lot longer than I thought. But, you know, as a reporter, that, to me.
I'm not saying that everything the public relations industry puts out there is not true, but we are so inundated with the story that people want to tell us: messaging, messaging, messaging all the time. It was really gratifying to tell a story that is being intentionally held secret. And if I could add one quick thing to talk about the secrecy: It's not all nefarious James Bond villain-type secrecy.
The book opens in when these bankers from Morgan Stanley fly to Wichita and they try to convince Charles Koch to take his company public. And he sent them packing. He turned them down flat. They couldn't believe it. And if they know how much money our traders are making, they're going to stop doing business with us. Their strategic DNA, and the way they make money, and the way they succeed, is by knowing more about the world than anybody else knows, and exploiting their knowledge and acting faster than other people can act.
And when that's a strategy you have, you don't want people to know what you know and you don't want people to know what you're about to do. So yeah, the secrecy is deeply embedded in the whole culture. Obviously the secrecy is his success as a businessman. But it seems like as much of a free marketeer as he is, as a libertarian, he seems like the kind of person who would be a big believer in shareholder value as a driving force for the free market. So it seems almost sort of hypocritical to me for him to keep his business private.
Am I reading his libertarianism wrong? He really is a big believer in shareholder value. And the thing is, there are two shareholders. He does believe in that. And I'll tell you, you're pointing at a really interesting element of libertarianism, I think: when you hear the word libertarian, you think transparency, competition, markets, democracy, freedom, voting. But it's more complex than that.
Charles Koch was born in a hyper-political family. His Dad, Fred Koch, was one of the cofounders of the John Birch Society, and that's a secret right-wing organization that believed the federal government was infiltrated by communists and that it a Trojan horse of tyranny. That's the political conversation at the Koch dinner table, right?
But then Charles, as he grows older, he goes to college, he gets multiple engineering degrees from MIT. So Charles Koch believes in this very pure market system that can't be tampered with by government. That means it is wrong for voters to pass a program like Social Security that takes money from productive citizens like Charles Koch and gives it to unproductive citizens like Chris Leonard.
So the whole picture of libertarianism isn't quite as neat and pretty as everybody has the right to vote and everything needs to be transparent. I think the central thrust is markets need to be allowed to operate. Corporations need to be allowed to operate in an unfettered way. David Koch wasn't the brains behind the operation, but he passed away a few weeks ago. That was obviously momentous. Could you talk a little bit about what you think that might mean for Kochland, for Koch Industries?
So we're here on a Friday night. I'm just going to be brutally honest with everybody: David Koch was not strategically important to Koch Industries or to the political network. As I mentioned, I flew to Wichita and was reporting on this for years, and I got these former people who built the Koch system to talk to me in their living rooms, in their basements, and we talked for hours.
David Koch's name doesn't come up when you talk to these people. It really is all about Charles Koch. There were four sons. Two of them leave the business in this huge contentious thing. And then David and Charles come to a truce. It was probably the most consequential decision David Koch ever made in his life — to hitch his wagon to Charles. And then David Koch went and lived the more public life. He went to New York City. He has his name on museum wings, he gives the speeches at Americans for Prosperity, their political group, he gives speeches at events.
Charles Koch is the one who stayed back home in Wichita and just diligently, quietly, patiently built this massive corporate empire. I guess all I would say is that David Koch's passing was super-sad for his loved ones and for his family, and yet it won't have a strategic or operational impact on the corporation or the political network. This might sound like pop psychology, but I'm trying to get into where Charles Koch is coming from, here. When David Koch died, there was a fair amount of a celebration on Twitter from the left.
And it caused me to wonder if Charles Koch realizes that people will do that when he dies eventually. I guess I'm wondering if Charles Koch thinks of what other people think of him. Is he aware of the fact that a lot of people in this room don't like him? And, does that matter? Let's make that assumption.
I'm not kidding: I think he feels sorry for people who dislike him. He is not a man plagued by self-doubt. He really thinks he has figured it out. I interviewed people who worked with them for decades — and I'm thinking of this guy, Brad Hall, who was a senior executive. He went to shake his head at me because I had these poisonous socialist ideas like that the New Deal was a good thing. He stood up and put his head above the trash. He stuck his neck out.
He tried to advocate for views and principles that the people in that organization really believe in. And he took flack and he took heat and he took attacks. And I will say, I talk a lot about that wall they built around campus as this kind of crazy metaphor for how insular they're becoming, but they face some intense death threats—vitriol, anger. It's a very real thing. But I don't think that it makes him doubt himself. There are a lot of jaw-dropping sentences in this book, but there were, uh, three sentences in this book that floored me, so I'm just going to read the three sentences for you: 'When they were children, Bill Koch hit his twin brother David in the head with a polo mallet, leaving a permanent scar just behind David's ear.
Later, Bill stabbed David Coke in the back with an African sword from their father's collection at the family compound, leaving another scar. David forgave his twin brother for both attacks. There were four Koch brothers and we mentioned the dad, Fred. Charles Koch describes his father in these euphemistic terms. He was larger-than-life, overbearing. The guy drove his sons intensely. He made them literally box with each other, fight with each other. You people are crazy. I'm out of here. Then he had Charles, who dad sucked in to take over the business, basically.
And then you had these twins, David and Bill. Bill was always just a walking psychotherapy session all the time — talking about how horrible his father was, how much he hates his brothers. He's been attacking his brothers since he was a kid. Those are anecdotes from David and Bill about the attacks, the physical attacks on David Koch. Bill Koch waged a war against David and Charles for 20 years. He tried to get Charles fired. Bill tried to take over the company.
He sued them. He employed armies of lawyers. He employed detectives to dig through Charles Koch's trash. He employed people to pose as reporters. He tried to plant terrible stories about Charles in the press. And I think it comes back to a domineering father making the children compete. Most of this book is about the decline of labor unions and things like that. But there's a scene at the end in which the question is: why does Charles Koch work so hard?
He's 83, he still gets to the office before the sun comes up. How much money is enough? What drives this guy? In my mind, an important scene at the end of the book is that you've got this bronze bust of Fred Koch outside Charles Koch's office. And every day when Charles Koch walks into the office, he walks past it. And now at the age of 83, Charles Koch has essentially surpassed his father in every field. His dad printed these old pamphlets; Charles Koch has one of the most influential political networks in the world. His dad built a business that was kind of a hodgepodge of businesses; Charles Koch unified it, blew it up, turned it into a corporate Goliath.
I think that was what drove a lot of the psychodrama that you just described as well. So why didn't Koch Industries invest in alternative energy at some point rather than fight so hard to keep the fossil fuel industry in a stranglehold? At some point, doesn't it make better business sense to diversify and branch out into these up-and-coming fields?
No, no, no. And I've asked myself that question a lot. They are just sitting on all this cash. They have all this money. Why aren't they just pivoting into wind and solar? So, momentum matters a lot. Charles Koch took over the company in when he was 33 years old, and the most important asset that he inherited was an enormous crude oil gathering system. Koch at the time was the largest gatherer of crude oil in the United States. And it sounds silly to talk about one oil refinery, but this is the Pine Bend oil refinery in suburban Minneapolis.
And it's amazing how much money you can make by owning one oil refinery. He bought that oil refinery that generated billions in profits for them over the years. They buy another oil refinery. They own fossil fuel pipelines. They own natural gas pipelines. They own natural gas refineries. So let's get up to the year , when Barack Obama is president and a Democratic Congress is talking about regulating greenhouse gas emissions. What does that mean for a company like Koch that owns all of these massive actions?
Well, here's what it means. The company has billions of dollars sunk into the physical infrastructure of our fossil fuel segment — the refineries, the pipelines, the shipping channels around the world where it's buying and selling leases for super tankers of oil. All of it. That's some investment. Then you've got to account against that: the flows of crude oil that will go through this infrastructure every year for the next decade, two decades, and three decades.
That's a lot of money. A lot of money. Now let's think about what happens if we pass a law that caps greenhouse gas emissions, and demand for fossil fuels starts to go down and alternative sources of energy like solar and wind rise. All of a sudden the value of those assets you own is going to go down. The cost is truly in the trillions. You lose trillions by writing down the value of those assets and by losing that future revenue.
And I think that that's one of the reasons why they have fought so vigorously to keep the fossil fuel system alive. And I mean, they fight vigorously. They have fought to derail greenhouse gas emission rules for sure, but they have also fought on the state level, quite ingeniously I believe, to thwart renewable energy programs. Koch Industries is out here today and spending a lot of money on political ads and think tanks. When it comes to renewable energies, they say this is crony capitalism.
The corrupt Obama wants to steer money to these inefficient industries like solar and wind. Meanwhile, they celebrate the story of fracking, of fractionated drilling, that has given us all these natural gas crude oil supplies. There's a chapter in the book that blows my mind about how Koch got in front of the fracking revolution down in Texas. They built a pipeline superhighway to take all this new fracked crude oil from Texas to a refinery.
Fracking was a ward of the state for decades — Fracking only happened because the federal government gave billions in tax subsidies. It funded the basic research to figure out the technology to frack over decades. It funded university centers to figure out how to frack, and how to make fracking cheaper. And then the private sector people came in on the very tail end of that and kind of commercialized it. So we didn't hear these terrible complaints about crony capitalism and industrial policy for all those decades.
But now that we're trying to generate for the first time actual competition — actual real competition in the energy sector — in other words, giving fossil fuels a competitor? They're working to quash that effort all around the country. This event came in too late to land in yesterday's readings calendar, but you should still give it your consideration: The Carnival for Sanity is happening at the Hotel Albatross in Ballard on Sunday starting at 2 pm. It benefits a host of progressive causes including Planned Parenthood; Literacy Source , which provides education for low-income adults in Washington; and Emerge Washington, which helps women run for office in Washington State.
It's not, strictly, a book-themed event, but there are plenty of literary features including a silent auction for a stack of 18 books signed by local authors and a stack of political books donated by Phinney Books, copies of Peter Bagge's excellent Margaret Sanger biography Woman Rebel for sale, and a "Trump Misspelling Bee. Here's a pretty great interview with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about what gives her hope and what does not give her hope:.
She nailed it. Reviewer-at-large Ivan Schneider reads Allende in the original and considers with suspicion a book without talking dogs. Congratulations on finishing your book! Congratulations on booking that event you've been dreaming about putting on for years! Now to let people know. You know who your audience is, and we know where they are. Your people are here, on the pages of the Seattle Review of Books.
Maybe all three in the same person. Guess who reads our site? Prices vary, but start low — in fact, the last week in September is still open for your Fall list favorites. Jance is, quite possibly, the most popular living Northwest author. Her books are beloved by legions of fans. The latest mystery in the J. Beaumont series, Sins of the Fathers , sees the detective coming out of retirement to solve a crime.
After a long hiatus, this literary happy hour returns — this time at Optimism Brewing on Capitol Hill. The rules are simple: show up with the book you're currently reading. Be prepared to talk about the book. Be prepared to ask other people about their books. That's it! Portland poet Julia Wohlstetter has made the long trek up to Seattle to read new work at Capitol Hill's newest reading series. This one will also feature music by Bill Horist, a local guitarist who "is on over 70 recordings and has been in over concerts.
Kenji C. Liu's newest book of poetry is Monsters I Have Been. These two poets are not from around these parts — they're from California and Texas, respectively, last time I checked — so Seattle should do its best to make them feel welcome. You really know it's fall when Hugo House's Literary Series kicks off. Like every edition of the Literary Series, three authors and one musical act will present new work around a theme. Good thing these aren't hackneyed writers! Brown should know; she's been an outspoken proponent of reproductive rights for years.
This is the first annual Seattle Children's Book Festival , and it's absolutely free. Phinney Books and Madison Books will be onhand to sell copies, authors will give talks, and kids will get a chance to meet their heroes. Authors will be contributing to how-to-write panels, discussions about graphic novels and middle reader novels, and a "monster mashup. Best of all, this whole affair is a fundraiser to get books in the hands of local kids who need them most. From the event's website:. This is a rain-or-shine affair, and it needs to be successful so that the Seattle Chidren's Book Festival can be an ongoing thing.
So bring your kids or bring someone else's kids — uh, with permission of course and introduce them to their new favorite author. Nobody is liked by everyone, and that goes for buildings, too, especially if they have a bit or a lot of personality. And yes, the logo of this publication is inspired by the Central Library, and I love the resonance there, even if it gives me the willies sometimes.
Still, I felt slightly and unworthily validated by this , by David Brewster. And yes, the Times piece is also about how long the Holl project took and how much over budget it went. Architecture is hard, and so is being a city. Everyone writes. But is everyone a writer?
Some states initially resisted implementing estate recovery. An appeals court rejected the suit in Other states opted to collect only high-value assets, or offered exemptions for family farms or estates worth less than a few thousand dollars. Sarah Marshall is a journalist, writer, and vindicator of maligned women in the pop-culture landscape. She's one-half of the power duo alongside Seattle journalist Michael Hobbes that makes up the sensation that is You're Wrong About , a truly insightful podcast that unpacks media-driven pop-culture moments with compassion, humanity, and a lot of humor.
Seriously, I love this podcast, and with apologies for editorializing, think it's worth your time to listen to an episode or two and find out why the so many of the women our culture love to hate got a raw deal. We caught up with Sarah in Portland, her place-of-origin, but she never sits still long. You can follow her travels, interests, and the ongoing adventure of the world's most favorite fictional eighties television show, Teen Lawyer, on her Twitter. Anagrams by Lorrie Moore , Penguin, Every fall I reread Anagrams , a weird little jewel box of a novel that, for me, works by not quite working: its characters express themselves in jokes and verbal sleight-of-hand, and experience the kind of glancing intimacies that are almost enough to keep them alive.
The book falls into five jagged pieces: five stories, one the length of a novella, each one about Benna and Gerard, the configurations of their lives a little different each time, and their fractured longing for each other always the same. It's an emotionally gutting book, but its sentences are confected with the nervy joy of a writer who, like her characters, makes life livable through language.
Words are interesting that way. I read Jane every couple of years, always in one sitting; there is no other book that is able to focus my attention this way, to make me feel like my own thoughts are approaching such diamond density, but that's because there is no book quite like this one.
In it, Nelson tries to understand the life and afterlife of her maternal aunt, Jane, who was murdered before Nelson was born: "My face stares into hers," she writes of a newspaper photograph:. When I started looking at Jane, she was much older than me. How strange her face seems now enlarged on this grainy screen, now that she will always be only twenty-three.
Nelson wades into a genre fraught with the desires and anxieties that writers have always projected onto the lacunae of the dead, and especially of young female victims; this book continues to haunt me and hold me because of the space Nelson makes for her own uncertainty, and, through excerpted diary entries, for Jane's voice:. But all those joys, sorrows, and upsets help you find yourself, help you build. Those upsets all contribute to my character and what I'm going to be. I picked this book up in Alaska earlier this year, and have been saving it as a treat since reading part of it on the plane home.
What drew me in to begin with was the chance — always a rare one — to connect with the lives of real women, and to the people who had made history possible, and for the most part have not been remembered for it. It's also a book that makes it easy to understand the draw of sex work in a world where it was all but impossible for a woman to get by on her own. About Cad Wilson, a "diminutive, brown-eyed redhead" who captivated Dawson City on her arrival there in , despite being "no beauty," a prospector later recalled: "The fellows went mad when she was singing 'There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.
She used her dress for holding nuggets just like it was sort of an apron and she held it right high in front of her. Cad was smart. She'd gone up there like all the rest of us because she wanted to get all the gold she could. Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes has written a book that examines the biography of a single particular oak tree. In the fall of , in the small town of Holland, Michigan, a new department store is just about to open. It's called Everything, and it seemingly stocks The parking lot is full on opening day, and local government officials are around to suck up to the new job creators who just moved to town.
That's the premise of the first issue of Everything , a comic out this month from writer Christopher Cantwell, artist and colorist I. Culbard, and letterer Steve Wands. It's a beautiful book — Culbard draws striking, clear compositions and uses the primary colors and zip-a-tone textures of s comics. It's a first issue, so I have to give Cantwell and Culbard some leeway about the mysteries in the book. Isn't a little early for a store like this? Wouldn't the 90s have been a better setting for the wholesale decimation of small-town America at the hands of a giant retailer?
The first issue of Everything is crawling with menace. The vibe of Everything, particularly as represented by the aloof store manager Shirley, is just not quite right — everything to do with the store feels like an approximation of humanity that doesn't quite nail the impression. I hope Cantwell and Culbard continue to incorporate Everything's advertisements into the story the way they do on the first and last pages of this issue — even good retail ads almost always have a sinister air to them, so this seems like fertile ground for further exploration.
Everything does a great job of establishing the characters and stakes with economy and compassion: the book doesn't take too long to get into the store opening, but Cantwell's script establishes the status quo in Holland enough to make it feel like a town that's been there forever. Imagine the first two hundred pages of a great s-era Stephen King novel smashed into twenty or so pages of comics and you have a good sense of what you'll find here. In a stunning case of people poking moronically at the Streisand Effect , our government has sued Edward Snowden over his new memoir.
The Associated Press says :. Snowden, rightly, is using the lawsuit as an opportunity to sell his book:. The government of the United States has just announced a lawsuit over my memoir, which was just released today worldwide. However, I wish someone would tell Snowden about IndieBound and the importance of selling books through independent bookstores.
Given that Amazon is working with ICE and other law enforcement agencies on facial recognition and other Orwellian technologies, you'd think Snowden would be pulling for indie booksellers. Anyway, the ACLU says the lawsuit is baseless :. A lot of the comments about Demetrios feel a little like sour grapes to me — the business really is confusing for new writers, and a lot of agents are very good at getting big advances but very bad at being good human beings. Wendig offers plenty of tips and compassion for Demetrios while frankly explaining how the industry works.
Sometimes I wish that some genre publisher would stop giving out six-figure advances and instead hire a fleet of novelists on a fixed, middle-class salary with benefits. The process of requiring every author to be a social media whiz, a self-marketer, and an expert at working freelance is not the most welcoming atmosphere for creative types.
Imagine what a working-class literary workforce could produce if they didn't have all those pressures forcing them to keep hustling. If that cool air and the smell of stew hasn't already awakened your consciousness to the world around you, we're in the beginning of fall, which means it's time to get into some real witchy stuff.
This Friday, September 20th, there's a neat-looking metaphysical reading that deserves your attention:. Janaka will be joined by cellist and composer Lori Goldston who has collaborated with artists ranging from Nirvana to Mark Mitchell and Lynn Shelton. And frankly, eighteen bucks is a steal for a performance by Goldston, who has been making beautiful, soulful cello music in Seattle for over two decades. She is a local treasure. Get your tickets now for an event that will kick off the beginning of autumnal spooky season in style.
Our August Poet in Residence, Edward Harkness , found his way to poetry the way so many poets did: a high school English teacher led the way. The teacher introduced Harkness to the work of Emily Dickinson and, most importantly, the poem " Death of the Ball Turret Gunner " by Randall Jarrell, , which inspired "an immediate visceral reaction" in him.
Harkness has lived in the Seattle area for his whole life, and he considers himself very much a part of "Seattle tradition of literature. But Harkness has an even more direct tie to the region's history of literature. You can't get much more into the Seattle literary scene than learning at the feet of the Hugo House's namesake.
In fact, Harkness's biography is basically made up of a who's who of Northwestern poetry history. He attended the University of Washington "right after the death of Theodore Roethke, and his ghost was everywhere around the campus," and he attended one of Tess Gallagher's very first public poetry readings. It was no less a talent than Madeline DeFrees who saw something in Harkness and encouraged him to go to University of Montana to study under Hugo.
Hugo's tutelage was "the game changer for me," Harkness says. He'd loved poetry for years, but Hugo in performance was the thing that pushed Harkness toward the idea of poetry as a vocation. I'd never heard a voice like that, and it just boomed out of him — it was kind of scary how powerful his voice was. And I just said, 'okay, that's what I want to do. One name that Harkness believes doesn't get enough attention in Northwest poetry history is Nelson Bentley , a poet who was one of Roethke's contemporaries and who lived, by Harkness's estimation, "in Roethke's shadow.
He was genial and approachable and never, ever threatening or intimidating, in the way that I think Roethke could be. As a teacher at Shoreline Community College, Harkness inspired a whole new generation of regional poets. But Harkness isn't slavishly devoted to past masters. He brings his own elements to poetry: "I am much more narrative driven" than most Northwest poets, he says.
I think I learned something about humor from de Frees. And maybe most of all, Harkness says, "I see myself as being a more political, in my work. So what makes a good political poem? Nuance and subtlety and suggestibility are all necessary. Harkness is now hard at work on composing a "new and selected" collection of his poetry. Two Seattle authors celebrate nature in very different ways: Lynda V. Mapes examines climate change through a single tree, and David Guterson takes us on a long walk through the woods. I lead you up terraced slopes until we see clear to Hing Hay Park.
Previously: white savior industrial complex , and Chiang-Kai Shek Boneyard. You know who your audience is. David B. Williams's new book is subtitled Travels Through Urban Geology , and it examines the way that cities, which are a fairly new invention as we know them, incorporate geology, which can encompass millions of years. Seattle author Kim Brown Seely's new memoir discusses what happened after she and her husband sent their kids off into adulthood. They celebrated by promptly taking off on a long sailing trip to the north.
They may or may not have been thoroughly unprepared for such a trip. Thursday, September 19th: Witness Tree Reading. The tree in question is over a century old, and it has seen, as they say, some shit that you wouldn't believe. See our Event of the Week column for more details. One of these presses alone is worthy of your attention, but a reading with one author from each of these two presses is a must-attend situation.
Throw in the fact that Laidlaw is also the author of "a book-length erasure of John Muir called Summer Err and this is sounding like a real night to remember. Open Books, N. This time of year is perfect for a trip out to Snoqualmie, and this reading of Seattle authors makes for a great excuse. Go hear a great roster of authors at an artistic outpost in the beautiful hilly land to our east. Even those of us who love it have to admit that the publishing industry moves slowly. It's one of the things we love about books: their creation demands time and consideration. A tossed-off book feels like ephemera, something disposable.
But a real book about an important subject really carries its own gravity. I mention this to explain why we have waited so long for the first real wave of books about the MeToo movement to arrive. Sure, there have been some hastily collected anthologies and some memoirs that have been retrofitted to hit the cultural moment. Titled Indelible in the Hippocampus after Christine Blasey Ford's brave testimony at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the book attempts to give a wide-ranging and intersectional survey of the movement and its effects.
Indelible editor Shelly Oria is coming to town to celebrate the book's publication with local contributors to the anthology. And it's important that the authors are reading these stories at Hugo House. These are stories that have changed the world. These are stories that require you to listen, and witness. I read Natalie Beach's essay about her relationship with Caroline Calloway somewhere around 3 a. So I was startled when Paul Constant described it, with interest, as a story about writing. There was a book, also to be ghostwritten by Beach, then there wasn't.
There were fights and hurt feelings. Now, there is a public airing of grievances: by Beach in The Cut , by Calloway in front of her , Instagram followers. Is this a story about writing? Beach and Calloway met at in a creative nonfiction writing workshop at NYU, so at least at one point they both cared about the craft.
Calloway remains her own best creation. Beach calls herself Calloway's ghostwriter. She was slated, though not contracted, to receive a generous slice of Calloway's profits from the book. Paul called silence the most important part of the job of ghostwriting. I think that's less true now than it used to be. Ghostwriters now are often recognized for their work, even on the front cover. The idea of authorship has changed, at least for the kinds of books that are often ghostwritten: to be the author doesn't mean, any more, to be the writer.
Which is brain-bending in and of itself. During Colette's early writing career, her husband's pen name was the one on the cover of her books. He got away with it because he was a controlling shit, but also because he was visible to the world in a way a woman was not. Less cringe-y maybe : Dick Francis credits his wife with writing his immensely popular thrillers , credit she gently deflects because she believes the testosterone-laden books require a male byline for success.
When Calloway decided she wanted to have her name on the cover alone, Beach created a new character: Natalie Beach. There's no gender imbalance in the push-pull between the two, just opportunism. But there is a story here about how being seen gives you the power to be heard. We need that information, especially links to past writing, so we can make good guesses about who'll be a fit for the site. But it's also how people tell us they've been seen. That they're worth looking at. Meanwhile, here's Beach giving away the game in the very opening of her piece Zuana Justaman on what she didn't say in the diary she kept during the Holocaust.
The established religion of markets once told us that we must abandon the idea of owning things, that this was an old fashioned idea from the world of grubby atoms. In the futuristic digital realm, no one would own things, we would only license them, and thus be relieved of the terrible burden of ownership. Ship of horrors: life and death on the lawless high seas.
Out of sight, out of mind: an excerpt from Ian Urbina's forthcoming The Outlaw Ocean investigates labor conditions in deep waters. Shin Yu Pai is a Seattle-based author of eight books of poetry, who often blends poetry with visual and installation art. To date, we've published two of her works: white savior industrial complex , and Chiang-Kai Shek Boneyard. I'm working on writing a collection of personal essays as memoir and have embarked on a deep dive into the craft of narrative nonfiction.
Earlier this summer, I attended a poetry festival in Curtea de Arges, Romania. Through that experience, I had a chance to come into contact with some amazing poets and community builders from all over the world. I wrote a review of this collection for High Desert Journal, which is forthcoming in October. Milla's book is a terrific documentary poetics collection that explores the history of a silver mining town in rural Nevada. Leona Chen's Book of Cord is a deeply thoughtful and experimental collection on Taiwanese identity, that has also captured my attention.
Bryan Blanchfield's essay collection Proxies. I also need to get a copy of Arthur Sze's newest poetry collection, Sight Lines , too. I work at an independent bookstore. We were told if we got caught selling the book early, Penguin Random House could penalize us by not ever selling us any of their titles again, which would essentially put us out of business.