Exhibit 1.7.14

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion



A lot of this book in other books, it seems to me, thinking specifically of Mary Robison’s excellent Why Did I Ever, but a great deal of Didion’s nonfiction as well. Maybe because I just re-read The White Album, but hard not to see this as kind of a companion piece, a kind of rewriting of that end of the 60s history from one of the floozies hanging around The Doors. Which is not to say Maria, our narrator, is a floozy, exactly (nor that she knows Jim Morrison), but she’s certainly adrift in the orbit of controlling, famous men and subject to the mental and physical violence that goes along with their lack of concern. An emotional history rather than a political one, Didion’s novel finds a way to say something about the emptying out of a depressive not through diagnosis but through the relentless and wrenching spirals of a life (oftentimes literally).

It’s a book about circles, basically.

At its best, it creates something beautiful out of exploring being (and heading) nowhere. At its worst, it unnecessarily strains against that definitionally limited narrative for the sense of scope and consequence Didion finds in her essays (leading to expositional 1st person passages in italics which add little but an ending, one we could have imagined just fine). Far more good than bad and more amazing than good, however, it’s a powerful book about powerlessness.

Two minutes in Silver Wells, two minutes here, two minutes there, it was going to be over in this bedroom in Encino, it could not last forever.

Comment / Posted in 2013, Fiction, Lies

Exhibit 1.4.26

Black Out

If anyone asks, this blog hasn’t been updating because of SOPA.

1 Comment / Posted in Lies, Protests, Seriously

Exhibit 25.2

So It’s Come to This

U-Haul is just making stuff up about what’s in Nebraska.

I would be worried about this unleashing a horde of tourists, but nothing happened when we had Chimney Rock on the state quarter so we should be fine. So, yes, America, go on flying over our wondrous refuge for weird rocks and fictional beasts.

Comment / Posted in Lies, Nebraska, Trucks

Exhibit 11.3

The Cupboard is pleased to announce Parables & Lies by Jesse Ball, the first volume in our new format. A 76-page, tape-bound volume designed by Brett Yasko, Parables & Lies is a beautiful little book which you can explore here.

Please consider subscribing to The Cupboard. We publish 4 volumes a year, and we’ll send them your way for the insignificant price of $15. Of course, we understand that there are a lot of ways to spend your hard-earned money, but trust us when we say that you’ll be very happy with The Cupboard. Subscribe here.

You can also choose to order volumes individually for $5.

The Cupboard’s inaugural pamphlet contains thirty-six short narratives about weary travelers and siblings of strange portent. Here is a world of kingdoms and distrust, of strangers to be encountered and age-old morals never, probably, to come. Read excerpts here.

Jesse Ball (1978-) is a poet and novelist. His works include The Way Through Doors (Vintage 2009), Samedi the Deafness (Vintage 2007), Vera & Linus (Nyhil 2006), Og svo kom nottin (Nyhil 2006), and March Book (Grove 2004). His work was included in Best American Poetry 2006. He won the Plimpton Prize for the novella, The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp & Carr. He is an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. See more at Jesse Ball was a Spy but has Retired to the Country.

The Cupboard welcomes prose submissions of anywhere between 4,000 and 8,000 words. Submissions should be sent by email attachment to submit [at] thecupboardpamphlet [dot] org.

Because this is our first volume (and because it is particularly incredible), we’re hoping you will help us spread the word. Any way you can help us out would be greatly appreciated, as we rely on you for links, subscriptions, and, most importantly, submissions.

Oh, and if you’re interested in reviewing the volume, or know someone who might be, please contact us.

As always, thank you for everything,


3 Comments / Posted in Help, Lies, The Cupboard