from “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” by Colin Nissan

“It’s Decorative Gourd Season” by Colin Nissan published at McSweeney’s is an Eckleburg favorite.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash….

About McSweeney’s

McSweeney’s Publishing is an American non-profit publishing house founded by editor Dave Eggers in 1998, headquartered in San Francisco. McSweeney’s initially published only the literary journal Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, but has grown to publish novels, books of poetry, and other periodicals.

The recipient of dozens of awards for its contributions to literature and publishing, McSweeney’s was named the country’s seventh most innovative media company for 2012, “for proving the value of print publishing.”

In December 2006, Advanced Marketing Services, which had been the parent company of McSweeney’s distributor Publishers Group West (PGW) since 2002, declared bankruptcy. At the time of the filing, PGW owed McSweeney’s about $600,000. McSweeney’s eventually accepted an offer from Perseus Books Group to take over distribution; the deal paid McSweeney’s 70 percent of the money owed by PGW. In June 2007, McSweeney’s held a successful sale and eBay auction which helped make up the difference.

McSweeney’s has expanded its operations into partnerships with companies including eyewear one-for-one Warby Parker and accommodations marketplace Airbnb. The musician Beck has worked in tandem with Warby Parker and McSweeney’s to design a custom pair of spectacles. In addition to its FastCompany award, McSweeney’s has received “best of” awards and plaudits from SF Weekly and other several other publications.

The company’s archives, including rare material from its founding and its early history, are held in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.

In October 2014, founder Dave Eggers announced that McSweeney’s will become a nonprofit and began asking for donations for several projects on its website. Eggers cited declining sales and increased opportunities for raising funds as reasons for McSweeney’s long-discussed change to a nonprofit publishing house.

from “When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue” by Édouard Levé

Read “When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue” by Édouard Levé in The Paris Review.

 

When I was young, I thought Life: A User’s Manual would teach me how to live and Suicide: A User’s Manual how to die. I don’t really listen to what people tell me. I forget things I don’t like. I look down dead-end streets. The end of a trip leaves me with a sad aftertaste the same as the end of a novel. I am not afraid of what comes at the end of life. I am slow to realize when someone mistreats me, it is always so surprising: evil is somehow unreal. When I sit with bare legs on vinyl, my skin doesn’t slide, it squeaks. I archive. I joke about death. I do not love myself. I do not hate myself. My rap sheet is clean. To take pictures at random goes against my nature, but since I like doing things that go against my nature, I have had to make up alibis to take pictures at random, for example, to spend three months in the United States traveling only to cities that share a name with a city in another country: Berlin, Florence, Oxford, Canton, Jericho, Stockholm, Rio, Delhi, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Mexico, Syracuse, Lima, Versailles, Calcutta, Bagdad….

About Édouard Levé

Édouard Levé (January 1, 1965 – October 15, 2007, Paris) was a French writer, artist and photographer. Levé’s first book, Oeuvres (2002), is an imaginary list of more than 500 non-existent conceptual artworks by the author, although some of the ideas were taken up as the premises of later projects actually completed by Levé (for example the photography books Amérique and Pornographie).

Levé traveled in the United States in 2002, writing Autoportrait and taking the photographs for the series Amérique, which pictures small American towns named after cities in other countries. Autoportrait consists entirely of disconnected, unparagraphed sentences of the authorial speaker’s assertions and self-description, a “collection of fragments” by a “literary cubist.”

His final book, Suicide, although fictional, evokes the suicide of his childhood friend 20 years earlier, which he had also mentioned in “a shocking little addendum, tucked nonchalantly…into Autoportrait.” He delivered the manuscript to his editor ten days before he took his own life at 42 years old.

Sources

The Paris Review.

 

from “Joy” by Zadie Smith

Read “Joy” in You Might Find Yourself by Zadie Smith

 

It might be useful to distinguish between pleasure and joy. But maybe everybody does this very easily, all the time, and only I am confused. A lot of people seem to feel that joy is only the most intense version of pleasure, arrived at by the same road—you simply have to go a little further down the track. That has not been my experience. And if you asked me if I wanted more joyful experiences in my life, I wouldn’t be at all sure I did, exactly because it proves such a difficult emotion to manage. It’s not at all obvious to me how we should make an accommodation between joy and the rest of our everyday lives.

Perhaps the first thing to say is that I experience at least a little pleasure every day. I wonder if this is more than the usual amount? It was the same even in childhood when most people are miserable. I don’t think this is because so many wonderful things happen to me but rather that the small things go a long way. I seem to get more than the ordinary satisfaction out of food, for example—any old food. An egg sandwich from one of these grimy food vans on Washington Square has the genuine power to turn my day around. Whatever is put in front of me, foodwise, will usually get a five-star review.

Sources

You Might Find Yourself.