Personal Essays Archive
Emily Dickinson knew that modesty and self-confidence, blended together, would disarm her reader and delight and mystify the people around her. Shirking conventionality offered her a modicum of freedom and enlarged her presence simultaneously; she was both eccentric spinster and white-clad angel, depending on how you saw her.
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.
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.
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
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
A few summers ago, I found myself tongue-tied on a first date. When I’m in London, flirting tastes like the first day of Spring: it imbues the air with possibility, and teases out a linguistic recklessness in me. In Dutch, I seemed to inhabit a less sensuous version of
When my grandmother was a girl, she slept with a knife underneath her pillow. The soft brutality of this detail rushes to the forefront of my mind every time I recall her face. I’m pulled in by the image of her small body afraid but ready to fight.
There is nothing especially remarkable about Papa Stanley’s death, no significant reason I should be thinking about it some 33 years later in the midst of a global pandemic and nationwide anti-racism protests, except it was the first part of what I came to see as a pattern emerging.
Jaquira Díaz’s 2019 memoir resonated deeply with me in a way that a bronzed Al Pacino never could, and that a book never had.
Once or twice, if we're lucky, we may come across a writer who changes our lives. For me, the greatest discovery of my reading life, and the biggest influence on my writing life, was a box of fantasy and science fiction books my father left behind when he moved