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Author: Ashley Bethard
“My little flower, where are you going?”
That’s the name of this painting my brother did. I found it this weekend, in a box of art supplies my mother salvaged from his apartment. The title is written on the back, along with his signed name. It’s a nod to the Italian song “Piccolo Fiore” by Vittorio Merlo, a rough English translation of [...]
I have a new essay up at one of my dream pubs
Let me get this out of the way: I'm really not a cool kid, so I'm just going to let the awkward fangirl in me hang out. I love Catapult literary magazine, and pretty much all of the work they're doing, honestly. The writing is diverse, engaging, and spans a variety of perspectives and topics. [...]
On learning to love the work
I’ve fallen in love with my work again. Deeply. In a way I haven’t experienced since finishing my MFA eight years ago. I long for it when I’m at work, or driving, or doing something that takes up most of my mental capacity. I’m always thinking about it, pining for it, itching for the chance [...]
2017 in the rearview, and a pilgrimage to my childhood home
The day after Christmas, I loaded up a rental car and drove back home, alone. Not Ohio home, but original home: the place that bore me, that contains just over a third of my life’s memories.
‘Do you hear that?’ It’s joy and chaos, both
It’s normal, around each holiday, each milestone, each moment we are expected to come together with family, to remember those who are no longer staunchly in the land of the living.
A tripped wire in the universe
"All I wanted was for the summer — that terrible season of loss — to end."
A few notes on gratitude & the holidays
Love and thankfulness start in the kitchen. The Italian parsley drying on the sink. A half lemon left over from dressing the food. A bulb of garlic, inquiring eyes, and finally, a beautiful bird prepared by my mother.
A letter on grief to my dead brother
I had to call our mother To tell her you died. She wasn’t responding to my texts or calls So I had to call the nursing home where she worked And have the nurse’s desk page her. What’s going on, she asked immediately. I told her to sit down. She said Just tell me. I said [...]
What to do when the news makes you feel like a human ashtray
I never realized how much we take the absence of pain for granted. Instead, we cite boredom, general malaise, and complaint rather than sheer gratitude for the stardust shooting through our bodies, for those perfect moments when speck and cell align, humming, harmonious. We've got to be grateful at the cellular level. We've got to [...]