Bourbon and Milk: Truth Flags, Secret Knowledge, and the Need to Sometimes Stomp Around, Raise Your Voice and Carry the Television Out to the Garage

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Last year, with a nod towards the thankfulness many of us associate with the holidays—a thankfulness steeped in both the warmth and the insanity of family—I dedicated a holiday season Bourbon and Milk (which you can read here) to literary parents and their children. […]

Bourbon and Milk: When the Danger Is You

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When I was in graduate school, working on the stories that would become my first book, Short People, one of my professors pulled me aside for a private meeting in which he did me the great favor of warning me to rethink my project. “After you have children, you’re going to regret having written these stories,” he said. What he meant was that, once I experienced the fervent parental urge to protect the seed of my loins from any and all real or perceived danger, my worldview would change and along with it, my sense of fiction’s mission. […]

Bourbon and Milk: “Are You the Mother?”

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“Mama,” my three-year-old son says a hundred times a day, right before he asks for something—a hug, a glass of milk, a kiss, a Netflix show, a toy that I have hidden up high because he whacked me with it—and I respond immediately, instinctively. I hear Mama and I think, me. I don’t even think it, really. I turn automatically, just as I have for my whole life at the sound of my name. […]

Until It Isn’t: An Interview with Antonya Nelson

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Antonya Nelson’s eleventh book, Funny Once, was published this past May by Bloomsbury. The collection includes the story “Winter in Yalta,” which appears in the most recent issue of American Short Fiction. Over a slew of emails, she took some time to talk to me, among other things, about the origins of her love of reading, obsessive fascinations, and the difference between therapy and writing fiction. […]

Bourbon and Milk: Undismissible Unicorns

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We’d just finished dinner and Z was sitting on my lap. At the opposite end of the table, P was sipping a well-deserved glass of wine. “Is today Tuesday, Daddy?” Z said. “Today’s Wednesday,” I said, and without warning began to tickle and nuzzle her until she was laughing so hard she could barely breathe. […]

Bourbon and Milk: Dead Kitties and Shallow Graves

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One of our two cats died recently—Mr. Melo. He was the older of the pair, and the first pet my wife and I ever adopted. We spent his entire last day in vet offices before finally admitting him to an animal clinic around 7 P.M., hopeful but worried. Around 10 o’clock, my wife called the clinic and was told Melo was as comfortable as he could be under the circumstances. An hour later, I got a call back informing me he was dead.

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