Excerpts from NBA Jam

NBA Jam was an arcade game released during the summer of 1993. The game was a larger than life simulation of basketball; players could perform unbelievable feats with current NBA players: somersault dunks, half-court shots, setting the ball on fire. As a child, I was obsessed with all facets of the game: when I wasn’t watching basketball on TV, I was practicing free throws, or begging my parents for quarters so I could play NBA Jam. My collection, “Enter Your Initials For Record Keeping,” is a series of essays about each of the teams in the game, as well as my relationship with the game of basketball–as observer, as player, and as a strange hybrid of the two, controlling the hyper-real avatars of my idols as they razzle-dazzle and do things the universe would not let me attempt, no matter how hard I wished.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

I have never seen myself play basketball. I was not good enough to be studied on film—to have cameras pointed at my body, to track my movements, to see which way I would roll (the left, always), how I created my shots. Seeing my body on film is a harrowing experience—it would be even moreso to watch me do something that I am not good at; we hope that the world is only interested in documenting our strengths, but there is a love of error—of air balls and blocked shots.

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Quick Kills: An Interview With Lynn Lurie, Pt. II

Lynn Lurie is the author of Corner of the Dead, winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize for Fiction, University of Massachusetts Press (2008) and Quick Kills, Etruscan Press. We recently had a delightful conversation about her writing, which I am happy to share with you. You can read Part I of our conversation here.

Quick Kills (and Corner of the Dead, for that matter) resonated so much for me with the experience of having recently read Roxane Gay's An Untamed State, both in terms of fairy tale and in terms of the idea of trauma: experiencing trauma, 'recovering' from trauma, and how one can repurpose or remake that trauma as narrative, and I'd love to hear any impressions you have of her work.

I read An Untamed State without taking a break.

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Holiday Open Thread!

Whether you’re eating turkey or hotel cheese and chocolate strawberries, have a wonderful day!

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Short Story: Gumdrop

One time you took food from my mouth and you didn’t want to but you did it because it was my tongue. That’s what I think about.

You liked me first because of that one day when Mr. Donovan asked me what I thought about some story I hadn’t read and I said it was wicked proper and when he asked me to elaborate I said it was wicked fucking proper and got sent to ISS for the rest of the day.  I could feel you watching me as I walked out and that wasn’t why I did it, I was just so goddamn bored, but it was a nice side-effect. And then you got to go on that field trip to the museum and we were talking a little bit before and I said, Make sure you don’t get caught up in any line dancing or group sex or anything, and you told me I should ditch and come with you because the art teacher never double checked the list anyway and I said What for, the sculpture garden or the group sex? and you said The group sex in the sculpture garden and I thought maybe I could tolerate you after all for a little while before I lost interest, long enough to figure out why you were always alone and why you seemed to never be around at lunch and why you were always chewing up your fingernails and why you always wore your winter coat indoors and there was something in the way your eyes shot away from everything you looked at seconds after you looked at it that told my dick you’d be into it. Like you were distracted enough to fool or something, like tricking a dog into the car to go to the vet. And that’s mean but I was pretty much right.

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More News From Ferguson

“Do you want to hear something funny?” someone asked me. “This is a joke,” he told me, “with a punchline 100 days in the making.”

A member of the St. Louis police force has been charged with excessive force.

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My New Password

cumberbatch

Password incorrect. Please try again.

cumberbatch

Password incorrect. Please try again.

Cumberbatch1

Password incorrect. Forgotten password?

Yes.

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The Places in Between

The first woman I loved was another writer, a woman I met in my second year of university. Let’s call her Emily. She had blonde hair and blue eyes and when I first knew her she wore her hair long, parted straight down the middle. She looked like she was fifteen. She had a boyfriend and she wore shorts even when it was cold. She was sarcastic and angry and hopeful and sad. She was an excellent writer.

Is an excellent writer. She isn’t dead.

*

When I was ten years old the Vatican issued an edict allowing girls to act as altar servers. I was the first girl in my church to don the robe. We had white robes with hoods, and belts of red rope. You doubled the rope around your waist and pulled the ends through the loop so that they hung at equal lengths. We wore rough wooden crosses round our necks, carried the Bible, rang the Eucharist bells. When my sister became an altar server too we fought over who got to carry the chalice. One year she tripped and fell as she was carrying Communion wafers to the altar. The wafers spilled out of her dish like confetti.

The priest kept a large square of white cloth at the altar. When he drank from the chalice after blessing the wine, he’d use the cloth to wipe his spit away. This didn’t make sense to me even at ten; surely priests had germs too. Surely, I thought, priests had insides that bled and purged and rotted just like the insides of everyone else.

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