A recap of the week at Atticus Review, along with some extras.
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Dear Friend,

(Today's letter comes to you from Book Reviews Editor, Michael B. Tager.)

Here's how it unfolds. You start to write an anecdote about when you got really into chickens. And how you called all over the state to ask chicken farmers questions, like, what’s the ratio of chicks to roosters at birth? What happens to the roosters? But this anecdote, which amused folks at the bar last night, doesn’t lead where you want, so you abandon it. 
This Letter from the Editor has to be good. People might read it!
You decide to switch to another task. You edit a review from one of your book reviewers. When you’re finished, you feel accomplished, strong, capable. 
You switch back to the letter. It stares at you. It can go anywhere, be anything. You start another anecdote, this time about your recent travails at the post office. You realize you’re getting lost in the weeds and this is the kind of writing that would get rejected, because minutiae is boring to read, and you never need as much backstory as you think you do.

But writing the anecdote reminds you of your novel, so you move over to that. You’re 65% through the first revision of your novel when you open it and by the time you close it, you’re at 72%. This growth makes you unspeakably happy because you’ve never written a novel to completion before, much less revised one, and you feel like more of a writer then you did yesterday, or the day before that, or at any time since you started it a year ago, or since any of the incremental growth points since your first publication, which wasn’t that long ago, only seven years. You’ve come a long way, baby. 
But you still haven’t written that letter, you procrastinator. You fraud. You bad, bad person. 
You write a poem-letter but you aren’t a poet: fail. So you switch to innumerable other tasks: You revise a short story for your writing group. You pitch to a journal you admire. You organize your reading series. You set up a meeting. You research agents. You go to a book release. You write a review. And you keep writing around the Letter, blocked by a tall, thick wall of mortar and brick and chartreuse-colored obstinance. The days and weeks slip by and you only have drafts. But you’re not worried. This ain’t your first rodeo.
Writing takes time. And blocks happen. Maybe you haven’t quite figured out the way to approach the topic. Or maybe you don’t care, or maybe you don’t want to do it, or whatever: Reason X. But you know you’ll figure it out, because you’re a writer, you’re an editor, this is what you want to do. So you remember the goal and you move between tasks. Just because you’re stuck here doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck everywhere. There’s always writing and editing to write and edit, creative banks to fill, forward to be momentum-ed.  
Progress is progress and inspiration works in the background of dedication, like defragmenting your computer. Defragmenting doesn’t disallow action. 
Finally, you try a different tact. You switch tense, you switch POV because distancing can work when you’re lost. Something clicks. You realize a little meta-narrative is fine (on occasion). Writing happens how it happens and you’ll make your deadline with time to spare. Deadlines are important to you, writing is important to you. And you’ll write the letter because you’re a writer, you’re an editor and you’ve written letters. You’ve done this before. You'll do it again.

We're glad you're here.

Michael B Tager, Book Reviews Editor


FERAL TOWN by Adam Gustavson

BOOK REVIEW: The Leavers, by Lisa Ko
Review by Aditya Desai

"The globalized reality of THE LEAVERS is one in constant translation, with Ko vividly setting the stage for a world of multiplicity."

By Jan Stinchcomb

"My daughter calls me. She doesn’t know how to deal with her spider silk when she’s giving a handjob. I pretend to be mute. She insists. I tell her she should use her spidey sense to tackle intimacy issues. No, Mom, listen. This is serious. I don’t want to hurt him.

In the background I hear her boyfriend’s panic giving way to screams that scale the walls."

By Justin Christensen

"Virginia Woolf walked into a river with her pockets full of stones. Hemingway put a hole in his head with a shotgun. F. Scott Fitzgerald drank so much that his liver became yellow. The girl with pale blue eyes who tried to walk into the river ended up in a hospital with another girl, named Charlie, who had a shaved head and huffed a large amount of aerosols."

By Alex Lanz

"Every moment is haunted by the knowledge of its disappearance. I clasped the parched hands of my grandmother whenever I visited, dimly aware that the final one would come, and indeed it did. And this moment has already disappeared. The dunes and the shore will disappear. Peoples and cultures stand to disappear as the sea level continues to rise. We can make a dozen species disappear every day."

By Jane Glennie

"Channel Swimmer is a short 'flicker' film that examines repetitive and ambivalent relationships in matriarchal cycles through the generations from mother to daughter to mother." 



AN INVISIBLE SOMETHING: Excerpts from ON BEING episode with physicist Brian Greene

We have a bit of soft spot for ON BEING, and we really enjoyed this conversation between host Krista Tippett and physicist Brian Greene on reality, parallel universes, free will, and the idea that we're all surrounded by an invisible field ("an invisible something") called the Higgs boson.  

We think you might like it too. Mystery is good for inspiration. Mystery is good for writing.

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