There is popular lore that Leaving Las Vegas was author John O’Brien’s “suicide note,” and that he killed himself upon learning that his book would be made into a movie. The idea of Leaving Las Vegas being a suicide note unintentionally originated with a letter O’Brien’s sister Erin wrote to Nicolas Cage after John O’Brien’s death, and with a New York Times article that claims his father also called the book his suicide note. It’s an poetic idea, but it seems to oversimplify the life and literary ambitions of John O’Brien.


I’m still not really over the death of Amy Winehouse, or James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Kurt Cobain, for that matter. People we don’t know die all the time, but when someone we don’t know who created art that touched us in some profound way dies, we mourn them almost as if they were family. It’s like we lost a part of ourselves, and very, very important part. When an artist dies who touched us, we mourn them fiercely… Read more »


Louise Belcher is a force of a little girl. She insidiously smart and unapologetically selfish. She thrives on drama and conflict and manipulating others just to manipulate them. She has affection for her family, mostly her father, but her tender feelings are dormant and have to be forced out by acts of terrible uncomfortableness. Her antics are relentless, ruthless, and just shy of pure evil. And that’s why we love her.

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Dylan knew something was terribly wrong with the world in a way she could not fathom. As a child she had just trusted that things would work out and adults would show her the way. Everything had seemed inevitable and settled until then, but that summer she got acquainted with a new curl of doom that started her belly and spread to her fingers and toes and kept a constant white buzz in the back of her head.


There was a young couple in front of us as we walked to he bridge where the bats emerge. He was much taller than she was, and they were both lean and thin. Sometimes I feel myself fading into the background when I see young people like that. I am only 31, and feel like I missed the bud of youth somehow. I was going crazy and then struggling to survive when I was young. I barely had time to notice my youthful skin. I barely had time to notice anything. Hardly anyone does. I’m trying to notice it all now, and it hurts.


Read Part 1 of Crushed Rubies” here When Mariana was 16 she had seen a therapist who she felt okay to cry around. He told her she was just surviving now, and that she needed to thrive. Years later, she felt like she had never not been surviving. From the people she knew and saw and the books she read, she did not know if there was really any other way. There was sorrow everywhere, so much heartbreak and pain… Read more »