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Is zero a number? 0 is the exception to many numerological rules. A number cannot be dived by 0, and any product of 0 is also 0. Unlike every other mathematical symbol, adding or subtracting by 0 does nothing. It’s neither positive nor negative, not even nor odd. It fails to be a number in every way. And yet, the value of 1, 2, and all the rest is determined by their distance from 0. Without the null value, we would be missing something integral to our understanding of math. 0 has to be thought alongside every and any number. It is the thing included in the category of “number,” a thing integral to that category, only because it is excluded from number-hood.
There’s a curious extra-textual layer to “Style,” which is that I started writing it when I was living in the literary wilderness, so to speak. No published fiction to my name—no guide, no map to show me the way out of that place. The story came from a bafflement about who I was as a writer, what it meant to be a writer. By the time I was finishing the story, I hadn’t necessarily landed on a solution to those quandaries, but I had gotten enough approval professionally to have a useful distance from that young-writer distress—to see how the story at heart is sort of a satire of our need to have a self (in the literary world, in the world at large) and how outer recognition does nothing to settle the core angst we’re all trudging through.
– Corey Sobel
“I need a volunteer. This is a choose your own adventure poem,” says Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo, self-proclaimed “Tall Spy” or so says her Instagram handle, followed by “unfortunately u can’t prove i’m not tall or a spy.” We’re in an era now where our Instagram bios are used to define us, I guess. Gelfman-Randazzo is 5’8” (she tells us) and also a poet. And she’s reading from her latest chapbook, Duh , in the backyard of a small used bookstore in Prospect Heights. 13 minutes past the start time, my friend finds a fortune in his jacket pocket, “Listen these next few days to your friends to get the answers you seek.” 17 minutes past the start time, they bring out wine. 22 minutes past the start time, we begin.