I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.


Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Seven

Most of the time when you see a piano you’re not allowed to play it, but you’re supposed to try, even if you don’t know how to play it. Or at least I’m asking you to, because I’d love to hear you play.

 

Watching William smoke a Marlboro Red on Cannery Row, looking out at Monterey Bay and the gulls going keekeekeeekeeekeee.

 

Then I woke up in Big Sur and heard the waves crashing on the rocks just outside the tent.

 

All these days, all these nights, a restless feeling, and never truly comfortable and always looking for peace. And maybe I’ll find it tomorrow. Oh I doubt it. Oh I don’t even want it.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Lydia Fitzpatrick. Her debut novel, Lights All Night Long, is available from Penguin Press.

Fitzpatrick’s work has appeared in the The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, One Story, Glimmer Train,and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fiction fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and a recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. She graduated from Princeton University and received an MFA from the University of Michigan. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters.

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I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

a review of Sun Kil Moon’s latest record, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans (Caldo Verde Records, 2019)

 

My mother and I drive from Los Angeles to a suburb outside San Francisco because her father is dying. At least he thinks he’s dying. His bladder has stage three cancer and his blood pressure is bad and he’s losing weight.  But the doctors say that with radiation he could last a few more years. The cancer moves slow.

We’re on the 101, just beyond King City, and I’m listening to the new Sun Kil Moon album, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans. She isn’t. I’m wearing headphones, even though she wants to talk, because I told her I’m writing a review of the album. My mother is very small. She grips the wheel tightly. She hunches forward when I tell her, “My friend Joey at The Nervous Breakdown asked me to review the new Sun Kil Moon album so I’m listening to it now, on headphones.” She’s only okay with me putting on headphones if I frame it as “a career thing.” She likes to talk to me (not about her dying father) and it’s not like I’m home very often or the best at sharing things about my life on the phone, or in person. Sometimes I don’t know if my mother trusts me. Like her, I don’t particularly like her dying father. But I think, maybe because she says I have his eyes, that she worries some nasty part of him will continue living on inside of me. And that scares her. The car is a BMW SUV.

Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Six

 

Well, it was a bad idea to wait to try and write this in the car, while all these beautiful things are flashing by outside. The last thing I want to be doing is looking at my phone. I’ll do it for this hour, and then, as I promised my brother, William, we’ll switch and I’ll drive the rental car into the Grand Canyon.

 

Into the Grand Canyon. Yeah. I’m gonna drive this Nissan right into the Canyon.

 

We were just at a rest stop near Sedona and there was a big sign giving a history lesson about the white guy who found the Grand Canyon. First of all, imagine being the guy who thought he found that, think about him having to tell his friends, “I found this reallllllllly big canyon” and his friends going, “Nice, what are you going to call it?” and he says, “The Grand Canyon.”

 

America is funny like that. What’s this big mountain range called? “Rocky Mountains.” “Okay, I guess that’s good, let’s check and see if anyone else already is using it…wow …no one has. Rocky Mountains is available, I can’t believe it.”

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Lilliam Rivera . Her new YA novel, Dealing in Dreams, is available from Simon & Schuster.

 

Rivera’s previous novel, The Education of Margot Sanchez (February 2017) was nominated for a 2019 Rhode Island Teen Book Award, a 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adult Fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and has been featured on NPR, New York Times Book Review, New York magazine, MTV.com, and Teen Vogue, among others.

She is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion alumni with a Leonard Pung Memorial Scholarship. Lilliam has also been awarded fellowships from PEN Center USA, A Room Of Her Own Foundation, and received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Speculative Literature Foundation. Her short story “Death Defiant Bomba” received honorable mention in Bellevue Literary Review’s 2014 Goldenberg Prize for Fiction, selected by author Nathan Englander. She recently received honorable mention in the 2018 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award.

Lilliam’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Lenny Letter, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and more. She has been a featured speaker in countless schools and book festivals throughout the United States and teaches creative writing workshops. She lives in Los Angeles.

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I wake. I reach for my watch. I press the light button on the watch. I shut my eyes and try to fall asleep. I can’t. I get up. I sit on the toilet. I try to pee while I sit on the toilet. I brush my hair while I sit on the toilet. I wash my hands and brush my teeth. I dress. I go into the kitchen and prepare breakfast. I let the cat out. I let the cat in.

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Trees

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Five

 

“When Henry Hudson sailed up through the Narrows between Long and Staten Islands in 1609 and anchored in the upper bay almost opposite old Communipaw, and he looked over the surrounding country and, as his gaze fell upon the green plains and pleasantly wooded hills stretching away toward the setting sun, he declared his enthusiasm that it was ‘as pleasant a land as one need tread upon.'”

 

He was looking at Jersey City.

 

Pleasantly wooded hills stretching away towards the setting sun. Damn.

As pleasant a land as one need tread upon, he said.

Balli Kaur Jaswal is the guest. Her new novel, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, is available from William Morrow. It is the official April 2019 pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Jaswal is the author of Inheritance, which won the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist Award in 2014 and was adapted into a film at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts in 2017. Her second novel Sugarbread was a finalist for the 2015 inaugural Epigram Books Fiction Prize and the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize.

Her third novel Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Harper Collins/William Morrow) was released internationally to critical acclaim in March 2017. Translation rights to this novel have been sold in France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Greece, China, Brazil and Estonia. Film rights to Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows have been acquired by Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free Productions and Film Four in the UK. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was also picked by Reese Witherspoon’s book club and The Girly Book Club in 2018.

Jaswal’s short fiction and non-fiction writing have appeared in the UK Sunday Express, Cosmopolitan MagazineThe New York Times, Harpers Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveller and Best Australian Short Stories, among other publications and periodicals. She has travelled widely to appear in international writers festivals to conduct workshops and lectures on creative writing, pursuing an artistic career, the power of storytelling, global citizenship and social justice advocacy through literature. A former writing fellow at the University of East Anglia, Jaswal has taught creative writing at Yale-NUS College and Nanyang Technological University where she is currently pursuing a PhD.

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Karen

By Daisuke Shen

Short Story

 

One thing about Karen that you should know: she is a good person. Sure, she has her faults, like ordering catering for the office from Applebee’s. Even Steel wouldn’t eat it, and he usually eats everything.

 

Home Depot Harvey says when it comes to entryways you can’t go wrong with a pergola. The culturally appropriated East Asian architecture in rot-resistant cedar suggests a certain refinement of spirit, i.e. “Why, yes. I did read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in college,” while simultaneously declaring, “Here is the front door. This way. Come inside. Relax.” I buy lumber and a DeWalt cordless framing gun and put them on VISA. Between my Chase and Alaska Airlines Mileage cards, my limit is $10,000. I haven’t been watching my purchases.

It’s Saturday. Lawnmowers cry from front and back yards. A house finch shoots out of an Oregon Grape and nearly kills me. I google “How to build a pergola” and watch a tutorial on YouTube. This is going to be trickier than Harvey let on.

Anne sticks her head out the window. “What are you doing, babe?”

“Pergola,” I say.

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Jane

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Four

 

My friend, the vampire, wanted to go to the vampire dance club in Newark, New Jersey. I said sure, even though I was not a vampire and didn’t dance. Turns out I was driving, too. That’s fine. There was nothing else going on. September, in my bayside town, one hour south. We climbed in my silver Mercury Cougar and drove north.

 

I met Jane at that vampire dance club. She was not a vampire either.