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Week of 3/4/18

PUBLISHED: March 8, 2018


In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.

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“What is the zeitgeist going on in the United States about color?” Shah asked. “Are they big colors? Are they strong colors? Prime colors?”

“I think what’s going on in the United States now is that it’s all happening,” the woman replied. “It’s almost reflective of the conflict going on around us — where you’re not having one definite color correction, but you’re seeing examples in various areas. I think it’s mostly about mixes.”

“So it’s not about solids,” Shah said. “It’s about how you put colors together?”

“Exactly, and different from what it’s been before,” the woman said. “It’s almost like a counterculture type of a feeling — you deliberately use colors that would not ordinarily work together.”

“Accidental colors,” Shah said, coining a phrase.

“That’s a good way of putting it, yes,” the woman agreed.

Editorial Intern Sydney Bradley
Excerpt from “What is the Perfect Color Worth?” Bruce Falconer, The New York Times, February 28, 2018


And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open

Editorial Intern Caroline Hockenbury
 “Postscript,” Seamus Heany


I’m not interested in safety. A great risk in writing is imagining you have something to protect. Playing it safe to placate someone or something. People talk about compromise, but often people don’t even know when they’re compromising, because they’re not conscious of contradictions. The thing about influence—it’s more like: what’s in your mind? What is it you’re trying to communicate? I’m not just interested in the thoughts I have, but also in others’ thoughts, and why not carry those forward? That’s why American fiction can be so thin. All these fears, like not seeming to be original—I mean, hell, most stuff isn’t. The question is whether you can articulate your thoughts for the moment in which you’re living, which is a different time. Say them in a newer way. There are new events, and language changes—sensibilities change. We are writing in and of the time we’re in. Oh, it’s a weird time.

Editorial Assistant Heidi Siegrist
Excerpt from interview with Lynne Tillman, James Yeh, The Believer


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