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My belief in the probability of the improbable had much to do with Havel’s improbable life and the Velvet Revolution of 1989. If a playwright and political dissident could become President of the Republic…anything was possible.


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The Stream - An International Writing Collective
22.04.2015
Oblique Strategies or How to Fix Creative Constipation Glyn Rebl filing from Prague, Czech Republic

I remember watching an interview with Nick Cave where he was talking about the creative process— how it isn’t the lofty, beautiful thing that people like to think it is but a difficult, ugly undertaking that only a fool would pursue, wracked with false starts, dead ends, and all manner of other ego-shattering failures that will bleed into your personal life and ruin all your relationships. That sounds about right.
15.04.2015
JESUS LOV3S YOU Jeffrey David Stauch filing from Middlebury, VT

There are officers surrounding a homeless man named Africa. One of them drops his billy club to the ground as he reaches for something we can’t quite see. Perhaps it’s the Taser we will hear about later on when the Police Chief explains his officers’ actions. 
13.04.2015
Cover to Cover: Charles Coypel and Don Quixote at the Frick Collection Sean Hammer filing from New York, NY

You’re thinking about cover songs before you even see what you came for: eighteenth-century tapestries by Charles Coypel depicting scenes from Don Quixote. On the way, you listened to “This Must Be the Place” by Miles Fisher, a cover of the Talking Heads classic. Because technology often seems sentient, the original song plays on shuffle a few tracks later, and your mind is off and running. You realize you’re listening to a cover and are en route to see a series of artworks that amount to, essentially, elaborate covers: Here is Charles Coypel “covering” Don Quixote as written by Miguel Cervantes.
10.04.2015
Eye Contact Alex Simand filing from San Francisco, CA

I am often trying to make eye contact with strangers on the train. These transient folk, sealed shut in their transport pods, eyes fixed on glowing screens, are nearly impossible to connect with. I try to make eye contact with them, because it’s fun, and because the payoff is high: a fleeting understanding between animals.
08.04.2015
War Fiction and the Narrow Road to Our Souls Simi Kamboj filing from Bath, England

Why does war fiction continue to enthrall us? Simi Kamboj investigates the phenomenon through Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
07.04.2015
Horizons of Pagan: Sailing the Far Pacific Douglas Arvidson filing from Onancock, VA

There were six of us on board and she was my boat. She was a fat lady, forty-one feet long from the tip of her bowsprit to the shake of her tail, and just twenty-nine feet at the water line, with a beam of eleven feet, four inches. Those last four inches are important. You’ll understand that if you’ve ever lived aboard a boat with a woman and two cats for ten years. When my wife and I were in the process of buying her for sixty-five grand, she had been damaged in a typhoon and we put another sixteen grand of insurance money into fixing her. But then she was ours. Over the years we had gotten to know her and to love her in that ineffable way men say they love their boats. It was a slippery love, though, like so many love affairs I never truly did understand it.
03.04.2015
Israel-Palestine and the Crises of the World System: Part II Adam Blanden filing from Margate, England

The conclusion to Adam Blanden's look inside the nationalist movements of both Israel and Palestine. It's not just about today; it's about a history of hegemony. 
03.04.2015
Windy City Politics, the Real Rahm, and the Runoff Garnett Kilberg Cohen filing from Chicago, IL

After serving under Clinton and Obama, one of America's most notorious politicians faces a test of his own: a runoff for mayor in the town that's supposed to love him. 
02.04.2015
The Story of My Holocaust—Part 1: Fucked by History Siegfried Mortkowitz filing from Prague, Czech Republic

I am going to try to describe what it was like growing up as a child—as the only child—of survivors of the Holocaust. I say “try” because it’s difficult to talk about, let alone put on a page, though it’s probably the reason I wanted to become a writer in the first place. How difficult is it? Since I have started on this series I have started smoking again after thirteen years of being nicotine-free. I have come down with a stiff neck and shoulder on the right side of my body, the side that writes when I write by hand. I have suffered bouts of insomnia, waking up at 4 a.m. every night for a week after some unpleasant dream, the pillows on the floor, the sheet twisted around my ankles.
02.04.2015
Israel-Palestine and the Crises of the World System: Part I Adam Blanden filing from Margate, England

An insightful look inside the nationalist movements of both Israel and Palestine. Adam Blanden posits that these movements don't just mark inform the Middle East, but are indicative of crises in the world at large. If you want to look beyond the rhetoric, into history and facts, look here. 
02.04.2015
We're Back The Editors filing from Las Vegas, NV

See that picture above? That's our hometown. Prague is our favorite city in Europe, and really, the world. But every so often, even we get the desire to see beyond the shores of our own horizon. We went to see the world. Walked her cobbled streets, her dirt roads, her beaches of both rock and sand. But through it all we kept a diamond in our mind and the name of that diamond was Bohemia. It was Nové Město. It was Staré Město. It was Žižkov. It was Vyšehrad. It was Prague. And, well, we're back. 
10.10.2014
The Constant Tourist, 2: The Lottery Siegfried Mortkowitz filing from Prague, Czech Republic

My alarm went off at five a.m., about an hour after I’d fallen asleep. The night before I’d finally managed to seduce Sabine, a German midwifery student and the best-looking of the two female tourists on the island of Tilos (the other was her friend Klara), but it had required a lot of retsina and most of the night. I was still a little drunk as I dressed and descended the raw cement stairs of the Hotel Livadia. I didn’t have to worry about waking anyone; I was the hotel’s only guest. The year was 1990, the month was May, off-season on an island which saw few visitors then even in high season.
10.10.2014
Waterboard Your Wives Colin Kalmbacher filing from Fort Worth, TX

One of the ways human beings seek to redeem themselves for past mistakes is by admitting those mistakes and attempting to correct or, if one is more spiritually inclined, atone. This is a minority view not much practiced in the United States. No wonder, then, that Condoleezza Rice, a profoundly dishonest and unethical artifact of the second Bush administration, is considered the frontrunner to replace scandal-plagued Roger Goodell as commissioner of the NFL.
29.09.2014
Here We Go Again Philip O’Neil filing from Prague, Czech Republic

I can’t talk as my chin is ground into the parquet floor: feel stubble scratch into itself, trying to move my head under leather, sweat smelling hand. ‘Oh shit,’ I’m thinking. ‘Now the floor’s all bloody and it’ll take an age to clean if it’s not dealt with immediately.’ Out from the roof of my eye I see the green uniforms of the paramedics who stand by watching me prostate on the ground.
29.09.2014
Inside the Artists’ Retreat: Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Valerie Duff filing from Amherst, VA

This August, I spent ten days as a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, which allowed me to be what I had forgotten I could be—a full-time creative writer. The Center has been housed both in Albemarle and Amherst County in Virginia. Mary Oliver was writer-in-residence on the Sweet Briar College campus (directly across from the road to the VCCA) when I was a young adult living in Virginia, and the surrounding landscape resonates deeply with the images of her poetry, but I didn’t really make sense of what the VCCA was until much, much later. 
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