Some essays take 4 years to write.

I mean, this one did. I turned it over and over again, like stones in water, finding things that glimmered and caught the sun. But there never felt like a real sense of cohesion.

I’d also add that it’s one of the more experimental essays I’ve done. So experimental and feeling/sensory-oriented that I considered categorizing it as something else. But the truth is, it’s the truth. It’s real life. So regardless of how uncomfortable I was putting something that was abstract out there, it is what it is.

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Here’s an excerpt, and you can read the whole thing on Medium.

I think we were supposed to run away with each other long before this. There was that night on the motorcycle, the loud buzzing engine that cracked through the air heavy with rain threat, as we took the backroads and their curves too fast in a rush to get to the lake, my white fingers pressed into your ribs.

You write to tell me you have not stopped listening since I left and your faith startles me. I cannot handle the music right now. There is too much noise, or too much feeling, or too many words. After the song’s opening seconds I am already switching to the next. There is no irony here, only direct correlation. I am, have become, noncommittal. “I am not the girl you feel in love with,” I hear myself say. I am almost telling the truth.

Read the full essay.

How to write about blood

“Basic laws of physics: how to lodge a hook in your head. Treble means three. Simple motions. Hold, run, cast. You tell the story for show now, choosing words carefully, measuring impact, showing ownership of memory. I can tell it too, that is the subtext of what you’re saying. But you’re not trying to compete. You are sharing. This is our memory. You should have some say in its resurrection.”

This essay is about blood, literally: brother and sister and other. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever written. I’m grateful to Rappahannock Review for giving it a home, especially among so much fantastic talent (Brian Oliu and BJ Hollars, to name a mere few).

Read “Of Blood” in Rappahannock Review here.

 

What it’s like to learn you’re semi-deaf

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“It’s like being underwater: the loudest thing you hear are your thoughts. Voices are garbled syllables with distorted time signals, they are far off and distant. It is easy to ignore, easy to give in to the indulgence of living in one’s own head. This is what it’s like to be semi-deaf, to be increasingly deaf.”

— You can read my essay on FANZINE, as part of their incredible Body Maps series.

Why Aren’t We Talking About the Girl Who Turned Down James Franco?

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I’ve got some feelings about this. I am impressed that she turned Franco down. I am also weirdly proud of her. I want to give her a high-five. And a hug, since of course the Collective Asshole of the Internet turned its claws on her once the story broke.

>>> Read the whole essay on Luna Luna Mag.

FRESH INK: “On Buying a Knife”

“How do you tell someone their behavior is objectifying, reducing and dehumanizing? That it makes you uncomfortable and afraid? And the bigger question: why are we concerned about the appropriate way to address unwarranted, inappropriate behavior?”

I wrestle with the very real, very unwanted threat of sexual harassment in public in this piece, up now at Luna Luna Mag.

FRESH INK: Barbie is officially a sex object.

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“Sports Illustrated seems to be treading into weird territory, reappropriating what was initially created as a child’s plaything into a sex object to be featured on the cover of its always-anticipated Swimsuit Edition.”

I wrote a piece on the Barbie + Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition collaboration for Luna Luna Mag. Go read it!

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READ IT: My Top 10 Books of 2013

I hate listicles, but I like Mensah and books, so I agreed to write this. My disdain for the year-end tradition of list-making is trumped by my belief that sharing books we love and our reading practices are incredibly important for human beings. Some books that have made the biggest imprints on my life were not ones I would have voluntarily chosen, they were recommended by others. The choices in my list are completely subjective, as most listicles tend to be, and aren’t listed in any particular order.

I had a valuable moment of self-discovery in writing this: my reading choices are rather indicative of where I am and where I’m pushing myself to, mentally. It’s important to understand outside views of America. It’s important to know how others stumbled through the mess of art-making as a woman in a world dominated by men. It’s important to give voice to and to be lifted by those labeled “subversive,” “problematic,” “different” and “difficult.” With that, cheers to all our good reads of 2013.

Many thanks to the editors of Specter for inviting me to contribute!