Social Distance, Then and Now

Social Distance, Then and Now

April 30, 2020

In those months, months of northern winter when my husband took the car to work and I existed alone with a baby in the American suburbs, the sheer brutality of our way of life rained down on me and showed me that I had not, before, understood.

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Priest's Kid

Priest's Kid

February 25, 2020

A poem for lent.

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Nature Lover

Nature Lover

November 21, 2019

It is difficult for me, and I imagine for many of my generation, to step outside and engage with the natural world in any way without worry. Is this the end? Will we lose it, all of it? 

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Asian Dramas: On Displacement, Vulnerability, and New Perspectives

Asian Dramas: On Displacement, Vulnerability, and New Perspectives

November 05, 2019

When I was growing up, the beautiful people with interesting lives were American or European, like me. Always. This reality remained unexamined for me, as did its implied negative—that it’s a little less desirable to be anything else.

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Gender Inclusive Language: Confessions of a Latecomer

Gender Inclusive Language: Confessions of a Latecomer

June 20, 2019

It had always seemed so simple and self-explanatory to me that “man” had two different meanings, depending on context. It could either mean “man” or “person,” and I didn’t see why I had to change the way I spoke and wrote because higher-up academics had decided this was no longer correct.

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Vial: A Product Review

Vial: A Product Review

April 11, 2019

This vial is exactly the same sort of container that is used when people give out bubbles as wedding favors. Except there’s no bubble wand inside. Obviously there’s no reason for one, because it would be sacrilegious to make bubbles with holy oil.

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Layering Place: In Ourselves, in Our Writing

Layering Place: In Ourselves, in Our Writing

October 23, 2018

When we write about people of our own creation, when we write fiction, there’s different work to do. We aren’t just noticing and deciding how to tell what we’ve noticed or experienced...We’re painting in those faint images and sensations ourselves, layering them onto more concrete descriptions of place and reality.

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The Writing Impulse

The Writing Impulse

July 31, 2018

I find I write a lot of stuff like this. Moments of humiliation, large and small. Attacks against which we are incapable of defending ourselves, for whatever reason. And here’s why: once they’re written down, they’re different. I’ve gotten addicted to the alchemy of writing, where those moments of pain and humiliation become beautiful and useful.

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Chronic Illness: The Power of Silence

Chronic Illness: The Power of Silence

December 19, 2017

For the next several months I watched my own silence as though I had no power over it. I didn’t tell my boyfriend, though it might have been relevant to our conversations about getting married. I didn’t tell my mother back home, or anyone I worked with. I cut my foot fetching water, bled on the front steps, and said nothing to my sisters as they helped me clean it up.

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On Failure

On Failure

September 12, 2017

I’m pretty sure there are some of us whose lives don’t work that way ─ people for whom failure seems less a painful moment on a journey and more the destination itself, or sometimes, for me, like the place I’ve been living all my life, wandering in loose circles with my eyes squeezed shut so I can imagine I’m somewhere, anywhere else.

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