One of the (many) lovely things about Brevity: A Journal of Concise Nonfiction is that after you publish a piece with them they ask you write something about how that piece came to be.
Here is how my essay “The Heart as a Torn Muscle” came to be: “Out of Bounds: The Origin of an Essay.”
Thanks for reading!
Katelin Farnsworth of The Writers Bloc reviewed issue 48 of Brevity — the issue that includes my essay “The Heart as a Torn Muscle.”
Here’s one of the nice things she said:
‘The Heart As A Torn Muscle’ by Randon Billings Noble takes an old age problem – the longing to be with someone who isn’t your partner, and spins it on it on its head. It’s captivating and refreshing, without taking itself too seriously (which it easily could have). It’s written as a ‘how to’ and is very clever. Here’s one of its gems:
‘No horoscopes. No tarot cards or tea leaves. If you must, you may steep yourself in stories of passion and price. Years from now you can indulge in what-ifs. But for now, right now, put your hand to your chest and feel what beats. The only muscle you can’t live without needs to stay whole.’
Click here to read the whole review!
Sometimes when people read an essay or a memoir they think they know more about the writer’s life than they actually do. They might speculate or wonder, or, if given the chance, ask the writer something that falls outside the boundaries of what was written and shared. But there’s a firm line between what is written and what is lived. Sometimes the best response to these speculations is to tell another story.
When my Modern Love piece “War Weary from a Dangerous Liaison” came out, a family member confronted my husband at a party: “How do you feel about this?” she asked — but it was more of a disapproving challenge than a legitimate question. I was standing next to him, blushing hotly, ready to say something about boundaries (see above) when my husband, a prince among men, said, “Did you read the essay? Because she married me.”
Readers, I did marry him. And I am perpetually happily grateful I did.
That said, here is “The Heart as a Torn Muscle,” published today by the magnificent Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.