A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Teen Lit


I recently finished reading The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg. I don’t typically read teen lit (some of my friends may disagree, since, full disclosure, I have read Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight), but I had particular reasons for reading this one.
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Island Walk

I emerge at the 215 St stop off the 1 train. I’ve never been here before. It’s familiar but strange, and I wonder whether I’m still in the city. A bridge looms in the distance. Yonder, the Bronx.

I’m armed with a notebook, some pens, and a book, Waterfront by Phillip Lopate, along with a head full of jumbled thoughts and unreliable memories. The daunting expanse of summer awaits me, but first, the daunting expanse of this island. Mannahatta. “Place where timber is procured for bows and arrows.” “Place of general inebriation.” “Island.”

It’s a balmy Monday in June. Before long, in two days in fact, the fury of the New York summer, hot and sticky, is expected. It’s forecast to be in the 90s by Wednesday, but this day is just fine for a walk, a half-marathon stroll along this island, tip to tip, park to park, Inwood to Battery.
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The Prodigal Son by Ranier Maria Rilke

In recent days I have had less time to write longer posts, so I have decided that I would try to do more and more smaller posts about things I have read recently or found interesting.

The other day I rediscovered Rilke’s reinterpretation of “The Prodigal Son” story from the bible. This passage ends Rilke’s only work of fiction called “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge,” which I highly recommend as well if you have time to read it.

Rilke does not tell the story of the prodigal son as someone who lapses into sin and debauchery but is welcomed back to his family with open arms. Instead Rilke tells the story of “the legend of a man who didn’t want to be loved.”

There are some beautiful pieces of writing such as:

For he had loved again and again in his solitude, each time squandering his whole nature and in unspeakable fear for the freedom of the other person. Slowly he learned to let the rays of his emotion shine through into the beloved object, instead of consuming the emotion in her. And he was pampered by the joy of recognizing, through the more and more transparent form of the beloved, the expanses that she opened to his infinite desire for possession.”

Anyway, I encourage you to read the rest.


Size 7

I’m currently working on some longer writing projects for the summer and have hit something of a block when it comes to writing new and timely pieces for DUFL. Here’s a story I wrote four years ago. I was “trying something.” I don’t know if it “worked.”

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Size 7

Briarwood Mall, Thursday afternoon in springtime. Not too busy, mostly high school girls shopping with their daddies’ credit cards and photogenic moms nibbling cinnamon rolls by the fountain, strollers in tow. A blinking cursor on a blank Word document awaits me back on campus, but Steve says he needs new shoes.
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Trappist Monks and The Vow of Silence

Fellow DUFL Press blogger, Anthony K, emailed me this article the other day. It is an email interview with 4 Trappist Monks and how they deal with their orders vow of silence.  It is a fascinating interview, and I suggest you read the whole thing, but I thought I would focus on one particular quote:

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Untitled

Untitled

Raindrops on lenses
scattering streetlamps
and carlights
like Monet
(or is it Manet?)
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