Personal Essays Archive

Judaism in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” and “Ask for a Convertible”

How does one raise a child to be culturally Jewish, to speak Hebrew and find meaning in the familial and ritualistic aspects of the holidays, without going to synagogue, fasting, or talking about Hashem? How can we explain to our son that he can be American but also Israeli?

Reading Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir

When I read Laymon’s recent memoir, I had a visceral reaction. It reminded me why I started writing. It made me wonder if my writing reaches my peoples and keeps us revising and growing in our stories. If writing protects us from the silence of memories lost.

Green London

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
Typically, people come to London to experience the best of a culture as it manifests itself in its great museums, libraries, and performance venues. London’s green spaces, however, present an allure equally powerful.

The End of Love is a Thing of Ugly Brilliance

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
A bus ride is not the ideal place to fall out of love. But years ago, I was on a bus somewhere between Entebbe and Kampala with two dozen women from across the world when I began to turn my life of partnered bliss on its head.

Visiting Haworth

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
From childhood, the Brontë siblings held each other’s intellects in high esteem and together made a web—a story-catcher—out of their own disparate interests, their ideas acting as warp and woof, their mutual love and respect a catalyst for their later works.

Garden Journal of a Death Foretold

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
The garden is a riot. Tiger lilies stifling the mailbox, butterflies on pink milkweed blooms, pansies in baskets. Standing on the front porch drenched in this splendor, I welcome the celebration and fear the powerful spirits that bring such life. What is most alive is also very close to

Reading Edna O’Brien

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
In 1976, I sat in a Dublin bookshop, taken hostage by Caithleen, her Dada who drank and hadn’t come home, and her poor Mama off on a fateful row in the lake. In the Country Girls trilogy, Edna O’Brien’s boisterous prose grabs and never lets go.

Parenthood Fear in Orange World and Other Stories and Small Animals

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
I love my son in a way that is so deep and fierce to be fundamentally at odds with the assumption that I’d be careless with him. I would breastfeed the devil, appease the wolf. But I know that even if I do, I am powerless against so much.

David Grossman’s Ode to a Lost Child

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
From the moment children are conceived, we become acutely aware of the fact that they could also die.

Reading bill bissett

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
bill bissett’s 1971 collection is about the narrator’s experiences with escapism.