Personal Essays Archive

The Joy of Reading Slowly

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I have become a far better reader over the last year and a half because of learning how to read more slowly. Perhaps most importantly, though, I once again love to read.

Contemplating Infinity

Hilary Leichter’s debut novel is a shifting, surrealist tale of a young woman’s search for permanent employment that deftly captures the anguish of living inside such existential uncertainty, and more terrifying, the potential infinity of it.

What a Ghost Sounds Like

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They say that in the right space, a space like a cathedral, that is designed for sound, you can build up so much resonance that the air is thick with it. It tingles on the skin and lingers long after the last note is played.

White Like Me

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Writing for me had always been a release. But every time I tried to write about my experiences as a Black man, the same thing happened: I doubted myself, and wondered if I was Black enough to write about the Black experience.

Reading New Orleans Writers on Hurricanes and Home

When Hurricane Ida struck New Orleans, I was one of the lucky ones with family outside of the city that I could stay with to ride out the aftermath of the storm, when the poor infrastructure and the ways the powerful have ripped off the people comes to light

The Varieties of Black Liberation in The Heart of a Woman

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In Maya Angelou’s 1981 memoir, she travels to New York, London, Cairo, and Accra. Everywhere she goes, she meets people who look like her but do not necessarily think like her. Black skin, she realizes, does not immediately equate to kinship, and in fact can mask conflicting understandings of

A Year of Online Flânerie

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Lauren Elkin has written at length about women indulging in the pleasures of walking and discovering cities. Over the last fifteen months, with the world outside so static, I have walked down online paths, led not only by intrinsic curiosity but also by an inquisitiveness that arose out of

On the Confederate Flag

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I’m driving in silence on State Highway 70, except for this truck that is motoring slow, and its exhaust pipe chokes like the engine is cutting off. The truck bed is rusted, exposing the primer. Still visible, though the paint is chipped, is the red, white, and blue star-crossed

Sacredness in the In-Between

Sergio Troncoso has chosen to situate his latest anthology in an in-between place. Through fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by Mexican American authors, it explores families living along the U.S.-Mexico border and how being in the middle of worlds impacts their lives.

States of Refusal in How to Do Nothing and Housekeeping

“Fourteen years ago I left my job at a publicly traded company and began life as a freelancer. In all these years I have been trying to get to what Jenny Odell calls the ‘third space,’ an arena of both participation in and resistance to society.”