Treehouse

online magazine for short, good writing

Category: News

New BE Prompt: Willful Bad Decisions

by Treehouse Editors

The new writing prompt for our next round of Brief Encounters submissions is: Willful Bad Decisions!

Ever done something that you knew was a bad idea, but went ahead and did anyway? The text you shouldn’t have sent, the job you shouldn’t have quit, or the hornets’ nest you shouldn’t have kicked? Send us your super-short (400 words or less) pieces on the theme of red flags deliberately ignored. For more information about Brief Encounters, see our submission guidelines. We can’t wait to read your good, short writing!

 

This Week in Words – March 3

by Treehouse Editors

Rachel Bondurant

AWP 2018 is gearing up to start in a week. Oh, how I long to be there. Are you going to Tampa? If so, Barrelhouse has a list of things to do and not do at their table. As a side note, if you’re not following Barrelhouse on Twitter, what are you doing with your life?

You know what the world needs? More subscription boxes. Wait, allow me to be more specific. What does the world need? More subscription boxes for writers. I don’t know about you, but I love getting mail. And I especially love getting mail pertaining to this magical, insufferable craft. Scribbler is the one I’ve subscribed to. It’s brand new, brought to you by actual published authors, and full of all sorts of delightful writerly crap. Real talk: I’ve done no research in this area, so if you know of other boxes for writers, stop hoarding the treasure and share with us.

The other day, someone I know casually presented me with a fantastically terrible piece of writing a published author friend of hers wrote. It was a short little sample chapter beginning about a woman, so obviously written by a man that it should have been a joke. It reminded me of this Twitter hall-of-famer. And that led me to discover this. Don’t get me wrong; I’d love for sexism to get solved, but then…who would we laugh at for being terrible?

Update on my almost-a-book-club project: Lolita. If you haven’t read this book, you must. It’s so well-written, and it’s actually funny. Most importantly, it will make you feel all kinds of things that you don’t want to feel. I hate myself for loving it so far, and I’m not sorry about any of it. My friends are thoroughly enjoying the audiobook version, by the way, which is narrated by Jeremy Irons. He played H.H. in the 1997 movie adaptation, so that’s why, but it’s still impossible not to imagine the story being told by Scar from The Lion King.

This Week in Words – Feb 17

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

It’s been a hard, gruesome week, Treehousers. My heart, my grief, my sympathy, and my desire for action go out to the victims of the Parkland shooting: the lives lost, the survivors, and their friends and family.

Regardless of where you stand on gun rights, I think we can all agree to be against gun violence. So I encourage you to check out these organizations and donate, if you can.

Lest I leave you on a downslope, here’s a montage of laughing babies.

Be good to each other, people.

 

This Week in Words – Feb. 10

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

I’m sure you’re all very sick of me at this point. I see you there, picketing outside my window.

Where is the content, you demand.

Good news! It’s coming soon. We’re deliberating with sweat-beaded brows and will have brand new contributor content for you asap, I promise. We love you for hanging in there. Keep doing that.

In the meantime: Valentine’s Day!

(Sidebar: I tried looking for great pieces about Valentine’s Day to share with you. Inexplicably, however, it seems it’s too early for the cheeky stuff. So everything I’m about to share for the haters is super old.)

Here are some things for people who love V-Day.

Here are some (admittedly funnier) things for people who don’t.

Have at it, chickens.

xoxo,

Rachel

This Week in Words — February 4

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

I’m not a joiner, y’all. But I love to read books, and I love to talk about books with people who also love books. So I’ve conscripted my friends into an annual book reading. That seems spare, I know, but what can I say? Life happens. This year we’re reading Lolita. Yes, yes, I hear you: How have you never read Lolita?

Better late than never.

Punxsutawny Phil declared six more weeks of winter, surprising no one. I couldn’t find anything particularly funny regarding Groundhog Day from this year, so here’s last year’s cartoon from The New Yorker. Still relevant, if you ask me.

How do you organize your books?

I have a three-tiered shelf in the hallway outside my bedroom that holds my criticisms, autobiography/memoir, academic, and poetry collections, along with some YA overflow. In my room, the nightstands are as loaded down as possible with stacks of books, while still being (barely) functional as tabletops. There are also three shelves above my beds with my signed copies and collector’s editions. But the one way all of these books aren’t organized?

Spines inward. I mean, what kind of monster do you have to be?

This Week in Words — January 27

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

Lock your doors and windows, everybody. This week we’re talking about my favorite secret obsession: crime.

Fun fact: I was a criminology major before I was a lit major. So perhaps my obsession with crime is not so secret as I like to pretend.

In any case, I’ve been (possibly unhealthily) immersed in my new favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder for the last week. How have I only just discovered this magical gem of all things delightfully morbid?? The plus side of being late to the game is that I have literal years of episodes to binge. Join me on this deadly adventure, won’t you?

Everyone’s heard of the Black Dahlia, but there are several other true crime stories on this list that I hadn’t heard before. Also, you learn other fun things, like one Mr. Adolph Coors was allergic to beer.

Not to leave any medium out, there are a lot of true crime shows on the streaming services. I won’t say there are too many–can there ever be too many?–but there’s no shortage. Here’s a list of several on Netflix (full disclosure: this is from last fall, so if any of these are no longer available, please send all complaints to Netflix). The only one I’ve seen personally is The Keepers, which I can confidently say was dark and depressing and super compelling. (Sorry I haven’t watched Making a Murderer yet. I’m getting to it, I swear.)

Honorable mention to Autopsy on HBO. I promise it’s not about performing autopsies, except in the context of how crimes can be solved by doing so.

Lastly, I’m including this review of Denis Johnson’s previously mentioned collection just released…literally, just because the title of the review has the word “death” in it.

Got a favorite podcast/series/documentary/book about crime, true or otherwise? Please, for the love of all things that go bump in the night, share them with me. I cannot get enough.

This Week in Words — January 20

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

When I sat down to write this new (surely long-awaited) installment of TWIW, I spent an embarrassingly long time debating whether to make a fuss over the return of Treehouse. But, alas, no words came. Instead, what arose in my mind every time I tried to start this piece was the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter.

Just…”Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back,” with the emphasis on a different syllable every repetition.

So. Thus, I begin.

With the turn of a new year comes, inevitably, a new assortment of reading (and—behold: writing!) challenges. In 2017, I entered an arbitrary number into my Goodreads Reading Challenge: 52. Not so arbitrary, it turns out. I failed.

Ehhh, sort of. I have a habit of rereading much beloved series that I own, and I didn’t count those. So probably I blew through that 52-count finish line, but I did it by cheating.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. I own a lot of books. And almost 40 of them, I’ve never read (see: previously mentioned rereading habit). So my 2018 reading challenge is to read as many of those books as possible. Take my idea, if you want. Seems a pretty obvious challenge, I admit, but feel free to name it after me anyway.

Speaking of books to read, this month is a pretty solid one for new releases. Quite appropriately, a collection of previously unpublished Denis Johnson stories, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, was released this week. Nearly six years ago, just after Treehouse launched (the first time), we featured a retrospective of Jesus’ Son. Nice of his work to make a reappearance just as we do. (Bonus: You can read the titular story of the new release here.)

(As an aside, I’m also stoked to read Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan.)

I’ve recently made the rather daunting—and more than a little reckless—switch from Person Who Writes to Professional Freelance Writer. As encouragement, a friend gifted me a book of collected blog posts from John Scalzi’s aptly titled blog, Whatever. The book, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop, features a few handfuls of posts about the professional writing life. Some of it is advice. A lot of it is funny. All of it is useful. One would think you can find the same posts on his blog, but (speaking as someone who didn’t pay for the book) I do enjoy having the highlights handed to me in a tidy little bundle.

And, finally…please enjoy this shameless self-serving shout-out:

Treehouse’s current Brief Encounters theme is, without irony, “New Beginnings.” We’ve raised the curtain unto our own new beginning; now tell us about yours. Born again? New job? Recently awakened as a human-sized cockroach? We want to hear your story. Give it here.