Redefining north.

Notes from Crew Quarters: Words that Stick With Us

Notes from Crew Quarters: Words that Stick With Us


This week, we asked our editors about a line from a poem, story, or book that has stuck with them.

Jacque Boucher, Spoken Word Poetry

"When they make fun of your accent, I'll take you swimming, because we all sound the same underwater," from Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye's "An Origin Story."

Ethan Brightbill, Associate Fiction Editor

"To be part is to be whole; true journey is return," from Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed. My wife and I used that in our vows, and part of it is inscribed on the inside of our rings. Alternatively, "He ate with the predatory efficiency of a lifelong bachelor," from The Name of the Wind. I say this in reference to myself every time I eat faster than my wife, which is almost every time, and then I laugh because I am easily amused and love the face she makes when she's exasperated.

Amy Hansen, Associate Poetry Editor

"...even these feathers freed from their wings forever / are afraid." From Galway Kinnell's "The Hen Flower."

Kelsey Lueptow, Associate Poetry Editor

"& then love the humans." Gary Snyder, What You Should Know to Be a Poet. (That may have been painted on a wind turbine once, but if it was it was done so with paint that washes off in the rain.)

Hayley Fitz, Associate Fiction Editor

"The colors, they imagined, were their dreams, and they waited patiently for those moments when a sliver of light would break loose from the oblong, suspended momentarily like a musical note on fire before streaking recklessly into the surrounding night." From J. David Stevens' "The Death of the Short Story" in Norton's Flash Fiction Forward. It's the last line of the book and kind of sums up everything I've ever felt about writing.

Andrea Wuorenmaa, Associate Nonfiction Editor

"People do not change, they are merely revealed." Ann Enright, The Gathering.

Hayli Cox, Associate Nonfiction Editor

"How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it's just words." DFW

Jill Harris, Associate Nonfiction Editor

"And it was still hot." From Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, the book that helped four-year-old me fall in love with language and with the idea that words are as close as we can get to magic.

Jason Teal, Associate Nonfiction Editor

"The death of rock was just bad luck." Sam Lipsyte, "I'm Slavering"

Ashely Adams, Associate Nonfiction Editor

“We humans look rather different from a tree. Without a doubt we perceive the world differently than a tree does. But down deep, at the molecular heart of life, the trees and we are essentially identical.” Carl Sagan, Cosmos. But it was really hard to pick one line to be honest. Also, a lot of lines from the Book of Revelation because I'm all about that apocalyptic aesthetic.

Notes from Crew Quarters: Our Rules for Writing

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