24 Hours in Cremona by Julia Conrad My fifth month teaching English in a small northern Italian city called Varese, a place no tourist has or should ever step foot, I took up the habit of describing the “state of my soul” at the top of my diary entries. That January my soul was: a walrus, a decaffeinated tea bag in cold water, permafrosted tundra (my sex life the permafrost), a used tissue at the bottom of a backpack, rotting.
Pine America by Sean H. Doyle Off and on for the better part of two decades, I was casual friends with a guy named Mark. Rumor had it that he had walked in on his father right at the moment his father decided to take his own life via shotgun. Mark was a few years older than I was, and was part of the tail end of the first wave of Phoenix punk rockers. He had been in a marginally […]
70-92 by Andrew Schenker ONE I started following baseball in 1987, at the age of seven, which means the first World Series I watched was between the Twins and the Cardinals. The previous Series, of course, was won by the Mets, the team I soon came to root for, hanging posters of Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson on my bedroom wall. I’ve continued to follow the Mets throughout the years, but three decades later, although they’ve twice returned to the […]
Merge Conflict by Osama Shehzad Be Humble. Focus. Grit. Users First. We Before Me. Get Shit Done. These six phrases were on a single slide on a massive LED screen on one end of the conference room. “These are our cultural values,” said Jay.
The Starfish, or, Why I Didn’t Name My Tumor by Martha Grover My counselor once told me that my tumor, the tiny tumor on my pituitary, was not me. Actually, what she said was, “You are not your tumor, Martha.” She was right, I am not my tumor. But she was also wrong, because the tumor is most certainly me. I decided in that moment that I didn’t like her. That particular therapist is now long gone from my life, […]
Orcas in Space by Sarah Kasbeer If you were to ask my husband about my sleep habits, he would tell you how I kick and punch, how I speak in tongues — how I even try to shove him out of our double bed. “You slept like a total maniac last night,” he’ll say nearly every weekend, coffee mug in hand, as he tries to hide his smile. I usually protest, though I know it happens far too often to be mere […]
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them; women are afraid that men will kill them.”–Margaret Atwood Glossophobia: the fear of public speaking. It’s derived from the Greek word glōssa, or tongue. This is the closest phobia I can find to “fear of speaking up.” I’m not talking about eleventh grade speech and debate, imagining your audience in their underwear. I’m talking about the fear every woman has experienced when she knows something wrong has happened but she’s […]
Pollyanna Problems: On Katharine Butler Hathaway’s The Little Locksmith and the Pitfalls of Excessive Optimism
Pollyanna Problems: On Katharine Butler Hathaway’s The Little Locksmith and the Pitfalls of Excessive Optimism by Ashley P. Taylor I. Two Pollyannas To be “a Pollyanna” is a complicated thing. According to Merriam-Webster, a Pollyanna is “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.” The original Pollyanna, the protagonist in Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 novel of that name, suffers endless bad luck but copes by playing “the glad game,” which consists of finding reasons […]