VARIETY PUZZLE — Like our constructors, I no longer own a Magic 8 Ball, but I had one when I was a child. When you are young and innocent and hope against hope for something to come true, you will go to extraordinary lengths to confirm that hope.
And the Magic 8 Ball toy was the (almost) perfect foil. You turned it over, as today’s acrostic quote reveals, and waited for a plastic polyhedron to float up and land one of its faces containing prewritten messages against the clear “eye.” If the answer wasn’t satisfactory, you could shake it and try again until the answer confirmed for sure that the boy in your algebra class “like liked” you.
Today’s acrostic quote is by Brenda Miller, and while I didn’t need to do any special “Incantations” to solve it, it gave me a good run for my money. Not quite as difficult as previous weeks’ acrostics, but a nice balance between solving the clues and filling in the quote inside the grid. My gimmes today were LIFE LINE, CRYSTAL, NEGATIVES and OVATION. Watch out for the number “8” in today’s grid. Numbers come up once in a while in acrostics. I briefly thought that there was an error in the quote, because punctuation is not used in most puzzles; it turns out that the last part of the quote is not “... no all signs ...” but “... it depends, no, all signs point to yes.”
You can enjoy the entire essay from Ms. Miller’s book “Listening Against the Stone: Selected Essays,” and the entire quote from which the acrostic is taken is as follows:
“This predilection for the mystic has been with me ever since I was a child. The best present I ever received as a girl was the Magic 8 Ball: every day I asked it a question, my hands sweaty on the black orb; then I turned it over so the answer floated up with sharp clarity from the murk: It depends, No, All signs point to yes. I found such limited and simple answers liberating rather than confining.”
We don’t own a Magic 8 Ball. Maybe we should get one. It might be smarter than most of us, or just as trustworthy. And apparently it has a pretty good attitude: 10 of its 20 answers are affirmative or hopeful, five are undecided, and only five are negative. Of course, with all oracles, it’s important how you frame your question.
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Blog : Authors
Joan FrankOctober 3, 2017
Joan Frank is the author of six books of fiction and a book of collected essays. Prior work has received many honors and awards, including the 2016 Juniper Prize for the Novel, the Richard Sullivan Award for Short Fiction...
Anne BarngroverOctober 3, 2017
Anne Barngrover is the author of two books of poetry—Brazen Creature (2016 Editor’s Choice Selection, University of Akron Press), Yell Hound Blues (Shipwreckt Books, 2013)—and co-author, with poet Avni Vyas, of the poetry chapbook Candy in Our Brains (CutBank, 2014).
Ana Maria SpagnaOctober 3, 2017
Ana Maria Spagna lives with her wife, Laurie, in a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by foot, boat, or float plane.
Sarah Curtis GrazianoOctober 3, 2017
Sarah Curtis Graziano’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Salon, The American Literary Review, Literary Mama, the Huffington Post, and other publications.
Ted GupOctober 3, 2017
Ted Gup is a known for his writing on government secrecy. He is the author of three books, including The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA, and A Secret Gift.
Ann HoodOctober 3, 2017
Ann Hood is the author most recently of the bestselling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Obituary Writer, and The Knitting Circle.
Cecele KrausOctober 3, 2017
Cecele Kraus has authored two poetry chapbooks: Tuscaloosa Bypass (Finishing Line Press, 2012), and Harmonica (Liquid Light Press, 2014).
Marilyn MoriartyOctober 3, 2017
Marilyn Moriarty’s essays have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction and other literary magazines.
Amy PetersonOctober 3, 2017
Amy Peterson is the author of Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World (Discovery House, 2017).
Jessica Lind PetersonOctober 3, 2017
Jessica Lind Peterson is a playwright and founder of a little theater in Minneapolis called Yellow Tree. Her play What I Learned from Grizzly Bears is published by Smith & Kraus.
Nicholas DighieraOctober 3, 2017
Nicholas Dighiera received an MFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage and is currently working on a nonfiction project called 53 Days With My Kids.
Brenda MillerMarch 24, 2017
Brenda Miller is the author of An Earlier Life, Who You Will Become, Listening Against the Stone: Selected Essays, Blessing of the Animals, and Season of the Body.
Thomas LarsonMarch 24, 2017
Thomas Larson is the author to The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative and The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber’s "Adagio for Strings."
Andre Dubus IIIMarch 24, 2017
Andre Dubus III is the author of a collection of short fiction, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, and the novels Bluesman, House of Sand and Fog and The Garden of Last Days, a New York Times bestseller and the memoir, Townie. His work has been included in The Best American Essays of 1994, The Best Spiritual Writing of 1999, and The Best of Hope Magazine. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for fiction, The Pushcart Prize, and was a Finalist for the Rome Prize Fellowship from the Academy of Arts and Letters.
Amanda Bestor-SiegalMarch 24, 2017
Amanda Bestor-Siegal is based in Paris, where she is working on a novel. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Threepenny Review and Salon.
Brian CastnerMarch 24, 2017
Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. He is the author of All the Ways We Kill and Die and the war memoir The Long Walk, which was adapted into an opera and named an Amazon Best
Reg DarlingMarch 24, 2017
Reg Darling lives in Vermont with his wife and cats. When he isn’t writing, he paints and wanders in the woods. He was an outdoor writer of sorts in a previous literary incarnation, but has wandered off into the rest of his life.
Michael DownsMarch 24, 2017
Michael Downs’s books include House of Good Hope (University of Nebraska Press), winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, and The Greatest Show (Louisiana State University Press)
E. A. FarroMarch 24, 2017
E. A. Farro is a scientist and artist along the Mississippi River in Minnesota. She has a PhD in geology and has spent a lot of time living in the wilderness. She is working on a novel and a weekly online collaboration, Science Love Letters. ??
Zachary GerberickMarch 24, 2017
Zachary Gerberick is a MFA candidate in creative writing at Florida State University.
Lauren HobsonMarch 24, 2017
Lauren Hobson is a graduate of Tulane University. She lives, works, and writes in Portland, Oregon.
Kerry MuirMarch 24, 2017
Kerry Muir holds an MFA from Vermont College of the Fine Arts, where she studied with Robin Hemley, Philip Graham, and Brett Lott. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Quarter After Eight, Willow Springs, and elsewhere.
Julie Marie WadeMarch 24, 2017
Julie Marie Wade is the author of four collections of poetry and prose, most recently Catechism: A Love Story (Noctuary Press, 2016) and SIX: Poems (Red Hen Press, 2016)
Krista ChristensenMarch 24, 2017
Krista Christensen's essays have appeared or are forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Harpur Palate, Hippocampus, Word Riot, and elsewhere.
Rachel Graham CodySeptember 14, 2016
Rachel Graham Cody is a writer in Portland, Oregon, and the co-author of Getting Open: The Unknown Story of Bill Garrett and the Integration of College Basketball.
Emily BrisseSeptember 14, 2016
Emily Brisse's essays and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, and her work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from The Fourth River, Armchair/Shotgun, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Hippocampus.
Kevin HonoldSeptember 14, 2016
Kevin Honold was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. His first book of poetry, Men as Trees Walking, won The Journal/Ohio State University Press prize in 2009. He is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Cincinnati.
Feagin JonesSeptember 14, 2016
Feagin Jones currently resides in Morgantown, West Virginia, where she obtained an MFA from West Virginia University. Her work has previously been published in PANK and Hippocampus.
David LazarSeptember 14, 2016
David Lazar’s books include Who's Afraid of Helen of Troy, After Montaigne (co-edited with Patrick Madden), Occasional Desire: Essays, The Body of Brooklyn, Truth in Nonfiction, Essaying the Essay, Powder Town, Michael Powell: Interviews, and Conversations with M. F. K. Fisher.
Alex LemonSeptember 14, 2016
Alex Lemon is the author of Happy: A Memoir, the essay collection Heartdusting: Notes from the Feverland (forthcoming from Milkweed Editions), and five books of poetry, most recently Or Beauty (forthcoming from Milkweed) and The Wish Book.