Stress Writing: A Review of “The Red Zone: A Love Story” by Chloe Caldwell

The Red Zone

Chloe Caldwell is an essayist known for her bold personal essays, resonant pieces about love, longing, addiction, and attempting to find meaning in mundanity. Heidi Julavits once wrote, in a review of Caldwell’s 2016 collection I’ll Tell You in Person (Emily Books, 2016), “Chloe Caldwell has written the ideal ‘female companion book’ – meaning, while reading I’ll Tell You in Person, I felt like I had a female companion with me at all times.” Her inviting and unpretentious prose imbues a strong sense of warmth into all of her work, allowing the essays to read like an assortment of polished diary entries. 

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Sunday Stories: “Temporary”

Projector

Temporary
by Sylvia Math

What was strange about how I met him wasn’t just that it was unusual  in and of itself, but also that of all the many ways we might have met, that was how it happened.  We knew people in common.  We went to the same parties and events.  We had likely seen each other before; it seemed impossible that we had not.  Except that I always seem to attract notice so probably not. He would have remembered.  I have some weird quality of presence and stick out and people notice and remember me; I never get away with anything. There’s always a witness. But it was possible, we decided, that we were in dark readings at KGB bar a bunch of times together, where it’s too dark & crowded to make or receive an impression. That was the most likely explanation. We had to talk about it; rifle through the possibilities, worry the subject. There’s always something a little uncanny & compelling about meeting someone who for sure you should have already met; a sneaking suspicion that you passed by each other; that photos of this or that event you were at would depict the other one of you in the background, undetected…yet.  There all along.

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