I want to write everyday because how else will I notice – and remember – how certain moments felt? Those glimpses of clarity, those realizations? I can tell you how it felt to watch The Nutcracker ballet, the dimming audience lights giving way to a cozy, illuminated house with gently falling snow. The sounds of [...]
Author: Ashley Bethard
A sentence, a paragraph, a page
This year, the #100daychallenge started on April 1. I’ve done creative challenges before, and — I should note — have largely failed at them.
New essay, “Grief Work,” up now at VIDA Review
I'm so happy to share that my essay "Grief Work" is finally alive in the world on VIDA Review. This essay was a tough one to write. It was a joy to think about, though, and I did think about it for almost three years. I went through draft after draft. I workshopped it in [...]
What happens when we ask why?
Humans spend so much time creating narratives, wanting to string together disparate events into something concrete, something patterned. Story: we crave it. We weave a tale out of bits of information. It’s a kind of electrifying alchemy, to feel as though you’re inside your own real-world choose-your-own-adventure. Does the story we build make us feel important? Does it make us feel like we’re in control? Does it give us a sense of confidence, teach us how to navigate the world better?
my first quaranzine: Singular Thought
If this time in self-isolation has taught me anything, it’s that life is too short not to make the art you want to make, regardless of skill level and polish, and that you should just put it out there. Put it out there, flaws and all. What I like about zines is that they embrace [...]
Self-care in hard times
All weekend – the slowest, most anxiety-ridden weekend I’ve had in a long, long time – I kept telling myself I’d use some of the extra time to write. And every time I started thinking through one of the essays I was working on, my mind would check out. I don’t feel like writing about that [...]
New essay up at Pigeon Pages: “Roadmap to a Fire”
"What happens when we juxtapose? Do the unrelated become related based on their placement? Do they share energy, tossing it back and forth, creating a link where one didn’t exist before? I sat at the bottom of the stairs for a while and stared at my hands. I couldn’t remember the last time he told [...]
11 books I read and loved in 2019
I love sharing what I love. It should come as no surprise that I relish the thought of books-as-medicine, and if you've got an ill of the heart, I've got a reading recommendation to treat you. To clarify, that is less about appropriating a metaphor and more toward speaking about the power of books in [...]
Essays I read and loved in 2019, vol. 1
This year, I immersed myself in reading essays. Not enough, of course (because my self-critic is always screeching "never enough!"), but the good news is I've stayed consistent about it. I created a Twitter thread of 10 of my favorite essays I've read this year, with the understanding that no, it's not an all-encompassing list, [...]
Right now I am re-reading Joan Didion's "Play It As It Lays," a novel she wrote in 1970, and one I return to every year or every other year. One thing that fascinates me this time around is how masterful she is at structure. I think it's something I missed before, how deliberate she was. [...]