Posts tagged "personal_essay"

Knock, Knock

London Bridge is falling down, Falling down, falling down, London bridge is falling down, My fair lady. He’s been falling asleep a lot lately, I tell my mother over the phone, the receiver cupped under my chin; she is the one who still holds me. He keeps falling asleep on the toilet, I say as...

Somebody Else’s Genocide

After my reading in Atlanta, Georgia, a blond woman asked me, in German-accented English, if my books were translated and published in Germany. “Ja,” I said. I studied German for two years in high school and one semester in college, but I remembered only a few words—abgehetzt, schoner, arschloch—and only one phrase: Ich habe sieben...

WQED, Channel 13: Programming Guide

6:40 a.m. Sesame Street You have finally fallen deeply asleep after getting up to go to the bathroom—for the third time—at 5:00 a.m.  Your son approaches silently, pats you on the head.  His hand, fingers splayed, fits into your palm.  His patting is gentle and inexorable. You stayed up too late reading a New Yorker...

The Potato Harvest

This is the morning that summer ends. In one hard frost our garden has become an abandoned battlefield, the last vestiges of the living lay stiff and frozen, black wilted zucchini leaves like limp umbrellas stand as pathetic monuments, tattered flags, over what was, only yesterday, a vegetable garden. Potatoes love one heavy frost. It...

Vitamin M

In the Navy, Vitamin M is the cure for all ailments.  Ship medics prescribe extra-strength Motrin, thousands of milligrams, twice, three times the recommended dosage to treat headaches, hangovers, back pain, stiff necks, fever, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, even acne.  My husband, in his nine years of military service, has adapted easily to the ibuprofen...
Sketch

Sketch

I notice the guy sketching even before I sit down, but it’s not a strategic decision at all. When I have a choice I try to sit facing the eye candy, and this guy’s not even close to handsome. But it’s the only available chair in the coffee shop, so I end up facing the...

Beyond Chagrin

When I was in the second grade I wet my pants. At a rehearsal of my grade school’s pageant, just before I spoke my lines—well, line, but, according to the director, a fourth grade teacher who’d minored in drama, it was a crucial one. For in this version of “Little Red Riding Hood” the BIG...

Tenderness

Ronnie Thomley banged on our door early one morning. He runs heavy machinery for Willie Thrift, the pond man. He showed up at our place in the pine woods of panhandle Florida driving a compact air-conditioned tractor equipped with a front-loaded rotary cutter.  Ronnie’s boss had sent him over to clear out some of the...

Tiny Masters: An Artful Trick to Writing the Personal Essay

We’ve gone around the table introducing ourselves, and now comes the awkward moment when I sound a bit like a door-to-door salesman peddling an unfamiliar doohickey that costs too much and nobody really needs anyway. “What is a personal essay?” I’ll begin. Students start shifting uneasily in their seats. It’s that word, essay. So scholarly,...

Private Bath

For example, when we were at that chic old B&B in Kensington, I had to wrap my slippery thin traveling robe around me and head down the hall past the half-dozen other rooms, hoping to God no one was in the bathroom during my morning window of personal opportunity. If we happened not to leave...

Daily Constitutionals

I’ve had some lovely walks along the Spokane River trail and in nearby state parks, but on such hikes, a walker must keep constant vigilance over the feet and all that could trip them up: the skateboarders, the rocks and roots and chuck holes. So for my daily constitutionals, I most prefer the quiet side...
Place

Place

I have been in this place before, in spirit if not in form. Perhaps I have been beneath white pine towers, the lowest limbs high overhead and an interwoven parquet of needles below.  Only prickles of remote sunlight penetrate the branches to the ground and, without underbrush, the forest opens to gray vista and silence. ...