Has a stunning surprise or lucky encounter ever propelled you in an unanticipated direction? Are you doing what you always thought you would be doing with your life or has some unseen magnetism changed your course? And has that redirection come to seem inevitable? Edie Meidav and Emmalie Dropkin asked leading contemporary writers to consider these questions, which they characterize through the metaphor of “the strange attractor”, a scientific theory describing an inevitable occurrence that arises out of chaos. Meidav’s introduction and the thirty-five pieces collected here offer imaginative, arresting, and memorable replies to this query, including guidance from a yellow fish, a typewriter repairman, a cat, a moose, a bicycle, and a stranger on a train. Absorbing and provocative, this is nonfiction to be read in batches and bursts and returned to again and again.
Please join us for a reading with contributors Jenni Quilter, Clarinda Mac Low, Liesel Schillinger, Debbie DeFord Minerva, Rachel Cole Dalamangas, and Sharon Guskin, editor Edie Meidav, and Cal Morgan.
Rachel Cole Dalamangas grew up between Denver, Colorado, and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. She earned an MFA in literary arts from Brown University in 2011. Her writing has appeared in Bookslut, zingmagazine, N/A Literary Journal, and BOMB, among other publications. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Sharon Guskin is the author of the novel The Forgetting Time, which was published in over twenty countries and was an international bestseller. She holds degrees from Yale College and Columbia University and lives in New York, where she sometimes teaches Buddhist meditation.
Andrea Scrima is the author of the novel A Lesser Day, which has also been published in German. She received a writer’s fellowship from the Berlin Senate for Cultural Affairs and is currently completing a second novel, which won second prize in the Glimmer Train Fall Fiction Open. Andrea writes literary criticism for the Brooklyn Rail, Music & Literature, Schreibheft, Manuskripte, the Quarterly Conversation, and other publications.
Clarinda Mac Low started out working in dance and molecular biology and now creates participatory installations and events that investigate social constructs and corporeal experience. She is the executive director of Culture Push, an experimental organization that links artistic practice and civic engagement, and is a medical journalist specializing in HIV/AIDS.
Jenni Quilter teaches writing at New York University. She is the author of Neon in Daylight: New York School Collaborations and Connections.
Liesl Schillinger is a literary critic, writer and translator, and teaches journalism and criticism at the New School in New York City. Her articles, reviews and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the New York Review of Books, Vogue, the Daily Beast, O, the New Yorker, the New Republic, the Washington Post, and other publications; and her short stories and literary translations have appeared in Playboy, Tin House, and Words without Borders. She has translated novels from the French and the German for Penguin Classics, Viking, and New York Review Books, and currently is writing a memoir and translating a French debut novel. She is the author of Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century. In 2017 she was named a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France.
Edie Meidav is the author of Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande), short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and three award-winning novels, Lola, California (FSG) and Crawl Space (FSG) the most recent. She is on the permanent faculty of the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Cal Morgan is the chief editor of Riverhead Books Publishing, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House.