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The term “strange attractor” derives from a scientific theory describing an inevitable occurrence that arises out of chaos. Edie Meidav’s introduction and the thirty-five pieces collected in this new anthology offer imaginative, arresting, and memorable replies to this query, including guidance from a yellow fish, a typewriter repairman, a cat, a moose, a bicycle, and a stranger on a train. Absorbing and provocative, this is nonfiction to be read in batches and bursts and returned to again and again.

Berliners! Come this Friday to the Hopscotch Reading Room at 7:30 pm:  Kurfürstenstrasse 14, 10785 Berlin

Strange Attractors Berlin

Authors Andrea Scrima and Heather Sheehan will meet with Edie Meidav, co-editor of “Strange Attractors: Lives Changed by Chance” (University of Massachusetts Press), and moderator Madeleine LaRue for a reading and discussion at the Hopscotch Reading Room.  Followed by: musical guest Ben Richter on accordion.

“Each essay reckons with contradictions, consequences, and risks. The moving, muscular collection holds an unexpected sort of magic, a sparkling nudge to stay open to change.” —Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe

 

About the readers:

Edie Meidav, co-editoris the author of Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande), short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and three award-winning novels, Lola, California (FSG), and Crawl Space (FSG) the most recent. She is on the permanent faculty of the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Andrea Scrima is the author of the novel A Lesser Day (Spuyten Duyvil), which has also been published in German (Wie viele Tage, Literaturverlag Droschl) to great acclaim. She received a writer’s fellowship from the Berlin Senate for Cultural Affairs and is currently completing a second novel. Scrima writes literary criticism for the Brooklyn Rail, Music & Literature, Schreibheft, Manuskripte, Quarterly Conversation, and other publications; she is contributing editor to the online literary magazine Statorec and writes a monthly column for 3QuarksDaily. The work in the anthology is excerpted from a piece that appeared on her blog Stories I tell myself when I can’t get to sleep at night.

Heather Sheehan, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, thrives on a visual arts practice that informs her written works. Together with sculpture, performance, and photography, Sheehan reaches audiences within and beyond the boundaries of her adopted homeland in Germany, where her works are to be seen in contemporary art museums. When not in her atelier manifesting experience into form, Heather Sheehan inspires others with her boundless curiosity and belief in the healing powers of human nature. Visit her at www.heathersheehan.com.

Moderator: Madeleine LaRue is a writer and translator, and senior editor and director of publicity for Music & Literature. She lives in Berlin.

“I know of no love that exists with moderation, at least on my side. The older I get, the busier I am, and the more engrossing my social life becomes, the warier I grow of submitting to the powerlessness of being in a love affair in which the heart is truly engaged. There’s a Kenneth Koch poem posted on the wall behind my computer that explains why. It says, ‘You want a social life, with friends/ A passionate love life and as well/ To work hard every day. What’s true/ Is of these three you may have two.’ When love comes in the door, my work and social life seem to fly out the window. Yet every now and then… even though I know how disruptive it is, I succumb, and all balance is lost.”

I talked to Liesl Schillinger to celebrate the publication of the Strange Attractors anthology with UMass Press—you can read the full conversation here

Strange Attractors cover

And come to the reading at McNally Jackson in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 

Screenshot 2019-05-07 at 09.45.38

An excerpt from my piece “all about love, nearly” has been included in the anthology “Strange Attractors,” published by University of Massachusetts Press.

Strange Attractors

Has a stunning surprise or lucky encounter ever propelled you in an unanticipated direction? Are you doing what you always thought you would be doing with your life or has some unseen magnetism changed your course? And has that redirection come to seem inevitable? Edie Meidav and Emmalie Dropkin asked leading contemporary writers to consider these questions, which they characterize through the metaphor of “the strange attractor,” a scientific theory describing an inevitable occurrence that arises out of chaos. Meidav’s introduction and the thirty-five pieces collected here offer imaginative, arresting, and memorable replies to this query, including guidance from a yellow fish, a typewriter repairman, a cat, a moose, a bicycle, and a stranger on a train. Absorbing and provocative, this is nonfiction to be read in batches and bursts and returned to again and again.

For review copies, contact Courtney Andree at the University of Massachusetts Press at cjandree@umpress.umass.edu. For other queries, contact the editors at strangeattractors1@gmail.com.

Press and Reviews

“A wonderful book, unique in all ways, truly and deeply full of wonder.  What a stunning constellation of seekers, believers, wanderers, questioners.  A collective spiritual autobiography like nothing I’ve read before.”
— Elisa Albert, author of After Birth

Strange Attractors reminds us that even chaos has a pattern, and now more than ever, we are grateful for it. Attraction is evidence of the sublime. The very idea sparks revelation.”
— Annie Liontas, editor of A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors

“Chance—the charm of chance—that permeates these stories is startling, often dazzling, and always life-affirming. You’ll wish most of these talented women writers were your friends.”
— Susan Fox Rogers, author of My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir

“Urgent and reflective, infused with a revelatory grace, Strange Attractors is a wondering wander of a book, a curiosity shop of stories filled with surprise and clarity, longing and transformation. Lyrical, experimental, or conversational, this collection’s voices explore encounters that change the course of our lives.” — Cathy Chung