Category: Blog (Page 1 of 6)

The Red Shoebox Guitar

By: Roy Dufrain

On hot Saturdays the neighborhood men took refuge in their garages. They opened their garage doors and ran portable fans, and they turned up the Giants game on the transistor radios that sat on their workbenches. The men fixed things and made things and drank bottled beer out of old round-shouldered refrigerators. Wives and children were generally not invited.

That summer of 1966, Bobby Highfill and I were both eight years old. Our mothers were forever shooing us out from under their feet and into the great outdoors, which in our corner of suburbia consisted of a few square blocks of housing tract and one dead-end street of undeveloped lots known to local kids as the Trashlands, where Bobby and I both served honorably in the Great Dirt Clod Wars of Concord, California.

Read More

Buddhist’s Kiss

By: Tobie Helene Shapiro

The Buddhist would not kiss me. He courted me; that is true. And during our courtship he regaled me with Buddhist stories, Buddhist parables, Buddhist lessons and teachings. And I know that he felt very wise. I decided not to test his hypothesis. It didn’t seem right, or fair, or even kind.

He expounded about the awful and soul-disfiguring injuries of his childhood. His father, the son of a famous and revered early twentieth-century artist, was evil incarnate. His mother watched soundlessly, sweetly failing to protect him. His older sisters—crazy, jealous, deranged, angry—all hated him, plotted against him, wanted him silenced in all matters of inheritance from the trust established by the famous-artist grandparent. His younger brother was the only salvageable human being in the lot of them, because his younger brother understood him. His brother, alone, was not a member of the family cabal, the terrorist cell pitted against him.

Read More

TCR talks with Samantha Irby

By: Dein Sofley

Samantha Irby unwittingly began her writing career to impress a dude. This was 2009, when MySpace was the thing. Her little posts entertained him. They dated, and when that thing came to an end, with the encouragement of friends, she launched her blog about the “dumb stuff that was happening to me every day,” Bitches Gotta Eat.

Read More

TCR Talks with Ben Blatt

By: A.M. Larks

In his latest book, Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, Ben Blatt uses his data journalism skills to tackle writing’s lingering questions and examine adverb usage, gender pronoun tendencies, reading levels, and writers’ favorite and fallback words.

Although Blatt uses statistical analyses to show that writers generally follow their own writing advice, word counts grow in size after the first publication, and co-authors rarely get equal title space on book covers, his work isn’t a math book disguised as a creative writing book. Blatt uncovers interesting insights into style and writing tendencies by looking at rule breakers and followers, including best sellers, critically acclaimed works, and fan fiction, to give the reading public and would-be authors a comprehensive view of what writing looks like by the numbers.

Read More

TCR Talks with Jean Hastings Ardell

BY: Nathania Seales Oh

In Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey, Jean Hastings Ardell co-authors the deeply moving memoir of Ila Jane Borders, a woman shattering gender stereotypes in a male-dominated profession while navigating her secrecy, shame, and eventual acceptance of her sexual orientation.

Throughout the book, Ardell points to transformative moments of struggle in Borders’ life: as a child at home and in the church, as a young woman on the baseball field and in male locker rooms, and at a Christian university where she played before being signed to play professionally. There are moments of levity alongside anecdotes of profound loss and rejection that show the reader Borders’ path to authenticity and success.

Read More

TCR Talks with Gayle Brandeis

By: Angela M. giles

I am not sure when I first became aware of Gayle Brandeis and her work. It was a few years ago, and truthfully, it was the story of her mother’s suicide that drew me to her. There is a strange bond between survivors of suicide, a shared understanding of that particular kind of loss and the way in which our kind of grief is often messy. I read a few of her essays online and was hooked. I poured through whatever I could get my hands on by her, and her poetry is amazing, by the way. I knew she was writing a book about her mother’s suicide, and whereas saying I was looking forward to it sounds a bit morose, I was. So, when the opportunity to speak with her about writing the book was presented, I was thrilled. It turns out, Gayle is as brilliant and kind in person as you hope she is, and she has an amazing ability to distill grace from even the most painful moments.

Read More

Book Review: Joe Hill’s “Strange Weather”

By: Xach Fromson

Joe Hill is no stranger to short fiction. His short story credits go back twenty years and includes the 2005 collection 20th Century Ghosts. After last year’s incendiary success with The Fireman, Hill returns to the form with Strange Weather, a collection of four short novels offering a panoramic view of humanity in scenarios that range from the fantastical to the all too real. Across all four stories, Hill excels at immersing readers in a full sensory experience that takes readers on unique journeys. The tightly written prose wastes no time in ratcheting up the tension, foregoing any trappings of the slow-build, existential horror in favor of rapid-fire pacing that never lets up.

Read More

Bright Orange Candy

By: Anne McGouran

Kate is a Burmese-Indian octogenarian with scornful dark eyes in a heavily lined face. The top of her head just about reaches the height of my armpit.

“My husband dropped dead in his surgery at age thirty-two. To support my five little ones, I taught at a private girls’ school in Dharamsala. I adored the teaching but not the housework. Housework is just a bourgeois fetish.”

“Dharamsala…was that in the sixties?” I ask.

“Yes, during the first wave of Tibetan emigrations. Did you know I tutored the Dalai Lama’s niece? Not the brightest bulb, that one”—Kate stares off into the distance…  into the Outer Himalayas—“I was always the first person up in the morning. I’d pour warm milk and curd into a chati, cover it overnight with a blanket, then churn it for our breakfast. The nuns all adored my lassi. I still get letters from Sister Veronica. That slyboots used to slip Santra Goli candies into my mailbox when I was having a hard time with the spoiled rich students. Sister V. and I are the last ones standing. Soon enough we’ll leave our bodies so nature can work her magic. Our energies are continually recycled, you know. We pass from death to life over and over again. It’s nothing personal, really.”

Read More

TCR Talks with Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous

By: David Olsen

When I found out that Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous, two instructors I’ve taken classes from at the Stanford Online Writer’s Studio, were collaborating on a YA novel, I was curious about their work. When I heard what their book was about, I was even more intrigued. A book about “mean girls with superpowers,” sounded entertaining and original. The protagonist, fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin, wakes up to find her older sister, Ivy, missing from their shared bedroom and is forced to team up with mean girls from Laurel’s high school to find her.

After reading the book and seeing all the amazing reviews online, I caught up with the authors, who graciously agreed to do a brief interview for The Coachella Review.

Read More

Book Review: Yuval Noah Harai’s “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow”

By: A.E. Santana

Who would like to know the future? To know and understand the coming changes to our environment, society, and the individual? Whereas Yuval Noah Harai doesn’t claim to be omniscient or a fortune teller, his book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow paints a picture of what may be in store for humanity in the next fifty or a hundred years. Harai does this not by making psychic predictions but, instead, by carefully examining history, biology, psychology, and technology. With a copious amount of research to back up his claims, Harai gives a detailed hypothesis on the next steps of human evolution—taking people from Homo sapiens to Homo deus. Whereas Harai gives intelligent, thorough explanations, it is through his clear, clever, and often humorous writing that he connects with readers.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow is broken up into an introduction and three parts: “Homo Sapiens Conquers the World,” “Homo Sapiens Gives Meaning to the World,” and “Homo Sapiens Loses Control.” Each part delves into the rise and fall of societies, provides an intimate look at biology and psychology, and discusses the growth of technology as it pertains to Harai’s claims. It is by understanding these topics, Harai suggests, that people will be able to understand how society may progress into the next stage of human evolution.

Read More

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén