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Original Essays | June 20, 2014 1 comment
It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »
Hannah HolmesDescribe your latest project.
When biologists discover a new animal, they follow a formula to produce a description of it. What color is it? How many legs? What does it eat? How does it mate? Does it dwell in trees, or under rocks? The Well-Dressed Ape applies the formula to Homo sapiens. The results are pretty funny. And fascinating. And sobering.
I once had a job guarding a construction site, which I could perform while sleeping in the VW van I was driving cross-country. (That sentence is so perfectly deranged I'm going to let it be.) One night I was awakened by a foreman who was offering me 20 dollars to open the door. Another night I came "home" late to discover that hooligans had toppled the port-a-john, spilling imitation-grape-scented sewage I could smell from two blocks away. I made 175 dollars a week for sleeping. Also, I once had a job driving human hearts from the airport to the hospital.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other; and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.—William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
How do you relax?
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Who are your favorite characters in history? Have any of them influenced your writing?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
World Atlas. Oversized one, with many rumpled Post-its.
Gray's Anatomy. With the cover featuring a nice upward view into the neck region.
Roger Tory Peterson's Eastern Birds. The birds I spot are never in there, but I open it again and again.
Unleashed: Poems by Writers' Dogs, edited by Amy Hempel and Jim Shephard. You can't read just one.
Susan Purdy's A Piece of Cake. Her carrot cake could change the course of your life.
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Hannah Holmes is the author of Suburban Safari and The Secret Life of Dust. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times magazine, Los Angeles Times magazine, Discover, Outside, and many other publications. She was a frequent contributor on science and nature subjects for the Discovery Channel Online. She lives with her husband and dog in Portland, Maine.