The annual Maine Lobster Festival is underway, so it seemed like a good time to go big on lobsters. Of course, festival organizers might not have been huge fans of David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster” piece for Gourmet magazine. And they might not like the weird lobster centaur on the cover of “M*A*S*H Goes to Maine.” But the love for Maine in the M*A*S*H book might make it all easier to bear.
David Foster Wallace and the brilliant “Consider the Lobster.” Some stories are indelible. You can remember lines from them years, if not decades, later. This is one of those stories for me. Contributor Ryan Marnane says it well: “What makes ‘Consider the Lobster’ so good is not merely Wallace’s detailing of the various ways in which lobsters are euphemistically ‘prepared’ for cooking — e.g., ‘Some cooks’ practice is to drive a sharp heavy knife point-first into a spot just above the midpoint between the lobster’s eyestalks’ — nor is it his erudite display of ‘comparative neuroanatomy’ and ‘hard core philosophy’ that is required to discuss behaviors associated with pain and suffering, but rather his propensity to lure readers of Gourmet into the depths of self-investigative moral inquiry with him.” And my favorite thing about the piece? That Ryan includes a footnote, in homage to DFW.
The soundtrack: “Rock Lobster,” by the B-52’s. Well, what else could it be? I have vivid memories of dancing to this in college, and everyone curling themselves down, down, down when we got to those lyrics. I can actually picture the dancefloor, many years later. The power of music and memory.
One Great Sentence
“Imagine me; I shall not exist if you do not imagine me; try to discern the doe in me, trembling in the forest of my own iniquity; let’s even smile a little.”
Vladimir Nabokov, “Lolita.” Read why we think it’s great.
Nicole Lucas Haimes and “Who Killed Julian Pierce?” Katia Savchuk really draws you into this post with her lede: “The article “Who Killed Julian Pierce?” was unusual on at least three counts. It was the author’s first magazine story. It took nearly 30 years to write. And it came close to solving a murder.” Haimes talks about the difference between filmmaking and writing: “I thought a magazine piece would be the same as making a documentary. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
The soundtrack: “The Murder Mystery,” by the Velvet Underground. I’m sure many people think these lyrics are poetry. I’m not one of them. But the creepy, sinister mood fits the story.
What I’m reading online: Lucas Reilly’s recent piece for Mental Floss, “How Eclipse Chasers Are Putting a Small Kentucky Town on the Map,” made me want to book a flight to a town in the path of this month’s eclipse. It’s amazingly well-researched, and at the same time a pretty galloping read. It gives you a sense that your life could be changed by witnessing it. Who’s up for a road trip?
I really like it when editors point out stories they’re proud of. Richard Halicks, an editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, did just that with this piece by Rosalind Bentley, “After Philando Castile, 2 churches in Roswell seek racial reconciliation.” He had nothing but praise for Bentley’s work on the story, part of the paper’s RE:Race project.
What’s on my bedside table: “M*A*S*H Goes to Maine,” by Richard Hooker. Isn’t this a great match to the David Foster Wallace piece? The writing isn’t quite up to his level, but the cover photo, half lobster, half nude girl, is suitably queasy-making. And I have to think DFW would like this tagline, also on the cover: “They don’t come much zanier than this one.”
What’s on my turntable: “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” by AC/DC. I don’t listen to metal much, but you can’t go wrong with AC/DC and Angus Young. I thought of the title song when reading the story about the murdered Native American activist above. “If you got a lady and you want her gone/But you ain’t got the guts/She keeps naggin’ at you night and day/Enough to drive you nuts.”
If you want to chat about storytelling (or music), I’m Storyboard editor Kari Howard, and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can find me at @karihow on Twitter.