Longreads Guest Pick: Emily Keeler on 'To Err, Divine, so Improvise' and 'Afterlife'

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Today’s guest pick comes from Emily M. Keeler, a writer, critic, and the editor of Little Brother Magazine. She recommends two stories, “To Err, Divine, so Improvise” by Kaitlin Fontana in Hazlitt and “Afterlife” by Chris Wallace in The Paris Review:

“This past week was one of several missteps; headlines and cover lines and tweets let us down even though we already were so low. Breaking news is broken. Steven Saideman put it another way in The Globe and Mail: ‘It is natural that we are impatient and curious, but we must be conscious that false steps may do much damage to innocents along the way.’ Sometimes it’s better to wait for the longreads.

“Here are two things I read while I waited:

“1. On the topic of shortcomings, Kaitlin Fontana has a wonderful three-part essay on Hazlitt this past week, describing the evolution of failure, and it’s eventual adulation, in the public imagination. For the time pressed, I’d jump to the final section—or do it right and space parts one, two, and three out over a few days, give yourself over gradually to your own failures.

“2.  While it’s not fiction—the place I’m most likely to find solace, this essay on self mythology, the interaction between a name and a story, and Big Poppa nonetheless does the trick. After all, one particular Chris Wallace would go so far as to say that ‘Biggie was a fiction—not so farfetched as to court incredulity, but idealized, a romanticization of the writer.’”

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