Writing on the Cutting Edge

Stories that are not for the faint of heart

 I just received my tenth anniversary issue of NOON  just received my tenth anniversary issue of     NOON , easily one of the most innovative literary magazines in America. Anyone who says—as someone working in publishing recently did, to my dismay—that women are less likely than men to take risks on the page, needs to check out this journal now. NOON regularly publishes convention-breaking work by National Book Award nominees Lydia Davis and Christine Schutt, as well as the funny, adventurous, heartbreaking Deb Olin Unferth and Kim Chinquee—women who haven’t gotten the recognition bestowed on the guys with doorstopper “big, risky, innovative” books but who are every bit as inventive as stylists and as courageous, if not more, in their explorations of heart and mind. To be sure, there are guys in this magazine too—most notably Clancy Martin (wait ten minutes and he’ll be famous), the wildly, darkly talented Gary Lutz, Brandon Hobson and Greg Mulcahy…and always newcomers, male and female.

NOON is the brainchild of its founder and editor Diane Williams, who writes the most transgressive fictions of anyone I know (she had seven of her short-short stories in the March issue of Harpers). Her writing is nonlinear, illogical (save for the logic of a dream) and decidedly “not nice.” I don’t always understand what’s going on in her stories but I do always feel—in an amplified way—the thrill and unease of walking through the world in a woman’s body. I asked Williams about her philosophy of writing.  She told me, “Learning to write and dedicating oneself to writing is the act of permitting oneself to live in a noisy and adventurous way.  You can enter the most important conversation that has been going on for millennium concerning the bewilderment and terrors of being alive.”
If you are looking for a hot cocoa comfort read, NOON—along with Diane WiIliams—is not for you. This is triple espresso.

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