Personal Essays Archive

A Mother’s Work and Rachel Sherman’s Uneasy Street: the Anxieties of Affluence

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Spending less time working and more time with our children was a choice that was entirely in our control. We realized that most people didn’t have a choice—they either went back to work quickly after their children were born or quit their jobs in favor of full-time parenthood.

Olive Kitteridge and My Mother

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Each day after her husband's death, Olive Kitteridge runs down the clock until she can go to bed with the sun. She has her routine, but it feels purposeless. Olive made me wonder if the days felt like this to my mother after my father’s death.

The Mother of All Fears

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This week, I reread Alexandra Kleeman’s short story “Choking Victim”. I had first read it when it was published in The New Yorker in May 2016, when I was spending most of my days at home with a mysterious newborn.

A Lot of Sorrow, A Lot of Faith

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I round a dark alcove in the Reykjavík Art Museum to find twenty or so people gathered in a space the size of a hip basement venue. Before them is a screen on which The National plays.

“Fake Kate,” or What I Learned From the Internet

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This storytelling imperative has become a cliché in advertising. From cars to throw pillows to the credit cards you buy them with, a wide range of consumer products now claims that it will help you to tell and/or become a part of your “unique story.”

Embracing My Identity as a Black Woman

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When Performer Magazine prompted me to write about being a Black female music writer, I was apprehensive at first. But when that essay was published, I realized how inherently political my writing is—and how important it was for it to stay that way.