Optative Bop: Ping-Pong in Life and Literature

Optative Bop: Ping-Pong in Life and Literature
by Henry Stimpson
 

Years ago my friend David came down from Vermont to go to a Celtics game with me and his 16-year-old son, who was hanging around with a druggy crowd and close to flunking out. David feared the weekend might not go well; they weren’t getting along. But they played ping-pong in my basement, and David soon had a big grin on his face, and so did Jake: he was beating his old man.

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The Newspaper Clippings

The Newspaper Clippings
by Susan Harlan

Last June, I cleared out my childhood bedroom in Sacramento. My parents were selling the house that my sisters and I grew up in, and although I had claimed most of the things I wanted over the last 22 years, there were still a number of boxes in my closet. I had never thrown the boxes away because they were filled with pictures, letters, postcards, notebooks, matchbooks, ticket stubs, coins, and all manner of souvenirs of youth, but I also had never moved them to any of my post-college homes: Seattle, London, New York City, and North Carolina.

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Mark

Mark
by Brandon Caro

I like to ride my bike at night. It’s not too cold out, usually, and there are fewer cars on the road. If I wait long enough to ride, there are no cars at all. And it’s not really my bike, but a bicycle from the Austin City Bikeshare which I borrow and ride for a time, returning and checking it out again periodically at various stations along my route to avoid any unnecessary overages.

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Inventory of my Bag

Inventory of my Bag
by Alice Riddell

‘Make an inventory of your pockets, of your bag. Ask yourself about the provenance, the use, what will become of each of the objects you take out.’
George Perec, Species of Space and Other Pieces

 

My handbag (as stands at 13.05 on Monday 14th May 2018):

Black wallet (containing x2 ID cards (UK driving license & UK discount railcard), x3 debit cards, magicians business card, x3 metro cards, laundry card, Chase business card, political party membership card, NYU health information card with brand and model of glasses written on it, British Airways bronze membership card, Guggenheim dual member card…

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Methods of Transport

Methods of Transport by Sarah Van Bonn   Car. A car is a privacy that stacks itself upon the privacies of others like blocks, like the wooden blocks of that endless tower game—you know the one. The tower isn’t endless, but it also never really ends, even after it falls; that is the point of the game. My childhood was car-based. It had to be. I was born near where the car was invented. If not the physical object of […]

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Our Version of Sweatheart

Our Version of Sweatheart by Andrew Bomback A sheep dog greeted us when we arrived at the first farm, and Juno immediately roped the dog into a game of fetch using a pine cone. Xenia and I brought our bags and food inside, and I set up Mateo’s portable crib while she nursed him. It was nearing his bedtime, so while Xenia put Mateo to sleep, I took Juno for a walk around the farm to scope out the animals. […]

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Caricatures

Caricatures by Nate Waggoner “I ate all your marshmallow fluffernutter. Put it in your memoirs.” -Jai Waggoner I’ve just moved across the country to Berkeley, California to attend a post-graduate creative writing program at San Francisco State University. I live with my aunt Jai, who is an art teacher and assistant principal at Malcolm X Elementary. In Jai’s art classroom, eighteen little buddies watercolor at four tables. Ephemera covers every inch of the room’s walls: kachinas, Dia de los Muertos […]

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Suit

Suit by Daniel Bowman Jr It’s Valentine’s Day. Sub-zero winds blow snow across the stubble of Indiana cornfields. We hunker down for a weekend of books and movies, blankets and tea. I make a checklist of chores. It includes dropping off my suit coats at the dry cleaner. I own just a few and they aren’t much to look at, but I wear one to work, with jeans, most every day.

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