350 posts tagged with Essay.
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"It's not really scary," Brad says. "None of this is scary."

"Safety Rope," an achingly beautiful essay by Garrard Conley: "No touching unless he touches you. No touching where people can see. No touching unless dared to touch. Brad makes the rules, but never says them aloud. One, two, three. Brad and I don't leave our hands down there for more than a few seconds. When I say my prayers at night, I pretend to be penitent, but I'm secretly happy for the betrayal." [more inside]
posted by amnesia and magnets on May 5, 2016 - 5 comments

The Jewish Community of Antioquia

The Faithful. "René and Juan Carlos set out to convert their Colombian megachurch to Orthodox Judaism. This is what happened."
posted by zarq on Apr 28, 2016 - 27 comments

“crisis” refers a moment when the body identifies intense danger

“To Become Louder, Even Still”: Responses to Sexual Violence in Literary Spaces Apogee Journal has collected fourteen responses from writers to sexual violence perpetrated in the literary community. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Apr 19, 2016 - 1 comment

"...a third party in our relationship"

Thoughts on open marriage and illness. Poet and essayist Melissa Broder, formerly anonymous creator of the Twitter account so sad today, writes about her relationship with her husband, their other partners, and his progressive chronic illness. This essay is excerpted from a larger collection, recently published.
posted by fast ein Maedchen on Apr 18, 2016 - 16 comments

On poverty, surviving, taxes and economic justice in America

"The Throwaways" by Melissa Chadburn, from 2012. (Via. tw: mentions rape, but not graphically.)
posted by zarq on Apr 9, 2016 - 24 comments

I didn't know how to protect myself if that meant disappointing men.

"Just recently, I began to see what I lost. It wasn't a job, a wife, a house. There was no tangible evidence of my fall, no record of my mistakes to be expunged. There was only the wreckage of my early adulthood, the loss of my unstoppable nature, and the empty hole where once my confidence grew. There was only a string of decisions to run and run again, to hide from ambition, to leave the theater forever, and to disown my dedication as a childish fantasy. And the reinforcement of my suspicion that I was only visible when I was wanted, and that nothing about me would ever eclipse my objecthood." (Content warning for child sex abuse)
posted by amnesia and magnets on Mar 24, 2016 - 5 comments

A brief cultural analysis of Trader Joe's

Everything at [Trader Joe's] is suggestive of a time when life was supposedly simpler, more traditional (e.g. homogeneous) — long before the big-box superstore, parking lots the size of football fields, and the proliferation of brands in the aisles and on social media.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? on Mar 3, 2016 - 144 comments

“When asked my name, I struggled between ‘Kenneth Reitz’ vs ‘I ॐ AM’.”

“The programming community has been opening up over the past few years about mental health issues, so, I want to take this opportunity to open up about my own.” Kenneth Reitz, developer of the famed Python requests module (as well as tablib, records, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Python) has written an essay about suffering a mental health crisis and discovering that he has bipolar affective disorder.
posted by Going To Maine on Feb 27, 2016 - 35 comments

"Single Women Are Our Most Potent Political Force"

Almost a quarter of the votes in the last US presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. They are almost 40% of the African-American population, close to 30% of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters. The most powerful voter this year is The Single American Woman.
posted by zarq on Feb 22, 2016 - 53 comments

Preparing For Your Appointment at the Podiatrist.

Preparing For Your Appointment at the Podiatrist Identify the problem. Recall your shaky theories about the dark spot on your left big toenail that first appeared you-can’t-remember-when: it’s mud, it’s a smear of brown hair dye, it’s a bruise from a 25-pound bag of trash you dropped on your foot while clearing out your childhood home to put it up for sale.
posted by zutalors! on Feb 16, 2016 - 21 comments

"Happy Valentine's Day!" the woman threatened.

"[E]ver since noticing a beautifully wrinkled and mysteriously sensual older French woman at a friend’s party, and, having inquired if she was the wife of the frizzy-haired, balding older man with the huge, horn-rimmed glasses next to her, and being informed that, “Nooo, she’s his mistress. They’ve been lovers for many years,” I’d decided that loverhood was what I aspired to." "The Magic Trick," by Carolita Johnson. (SLTheHairpin) [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Feb 11, 2016 - 12 comments

"When Your Fat Pic Goes Viral as a Feminist Cautionary Tale"

Writer Hale Goetz had just finished Christmas dinner with her family when she got the call: “A picture of you is on the front page of r/funny,” my friend told me. I’m not a regular Reddit user, but I know about r/funny—it’s a popular subpage, a place with a lot of cat pictures. Funny? Had I been funny? I traced back through the past week, wondering if I had finally made one of my 119 Twitter followers laugh, but then my stomach clenched as my friend explained my stardom wasn’t because I had been funny. It was because I had gotten fat.
posted by Room 641-A on Jan 6, 2016 - 72 comments

How Bad Are Things?

One “advantage” of working in psychiatry is getting a window into an otherwise invisible world of really miserable people. Scott Alexander writes about mental health and well being in America.
"I work in a wealthy, mostly-white college town consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the country. If there’s anywhere that you might dare hope wasn’t filled to the brim with people living hopeless lives, it would be here. But that hope is not realized. Every day I get to listen to people describe problems that would seem overwrought if they were in a novel, and made-up if they were in a thinkpiece on The Fragmentation Of American Society."
posted by boo_radley on Dec 31, 2015 - 62 comments

Aw-nay-shuh.

"There was power in a name, and I figured if mine were Elizabeth, maybe the blue eyes and blonde hair would follow. I would look more like her. My mother. She has stories of walking around—me in her arms, my brother in a stroller—and people asking what country we were adopted from. My mother is too polite to say things like, The country of my vagina." "Where I'm Writing From" by Onnesha Roychoudhuri.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 30, 2015 - 7 comments

“Our Christmases together were simple. ”

“My Christmas in New York” by Harper Lee, Illustrations by Bill Bragg [The Guardian]
“Several years ago, I was living in New York and working for an airline, so I never got home to Alabama for Christmas – if, indeed, I got the day off. To a displaced southerner, Christmas in New York can be rather a melancholy occasion, not because the scene is strange to one far from home, but because it is familiar: New York shoppers evince the same singleness of purpose as slow-moving southerners; Salvation Army bands and Christmas carols are alike the world over; at that time of year, New York streets shine wet with the same gentle farmer’s rain that soaks Alabama’s winter fields. I missed Christmas away from home, I thought. What I really missed was a memory, an old memory of people long since gone, of my grandparents’ house bursting with cousins, smilax and holly. I missed the sound of hunting boots, the sudden open-door gusts of chilly air that cut through the aroma of pine needles and oyster dressing. I missed my brother’s night-before-Christmas mask of rectitude and my father’s bumblebee bass humming Joy To The World.”
posted by Fizz on Dec 24, 2015 - 9 comments

"...thou shalt not be a bystander" ― Yehuda Bauer

Hollywood's Last Survivors [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 17, 2015 - 3 comments

“How did we get from Kitty Hawk to here?”

Take Flight [New York Times] [Magazine] The year’s best actors lift off in a series of tributes to the ultimate Hollywood magic trick. To watch in virtual reality on your phone, download our app. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Dec 10, 2015 - 4 comments

"Starving silences who you really are."

There Once Was a Girl. A work of criticism and of memoir on the false narratives surrounding anorexia in life and literature.
(Some may find the descriptions in this essay disturbing or triggering.)
posted by zarq on Dec 10, 2015 - 9 comments

This place has changed a lot.

These photos are why I'm trapped in Tokyo forever now is an animated photo essay about ... some kind of Tokyo.
posted by grobstein on Nov 29, 2015 - 15 comments

"You can’t sell something to people if they don’t want that thing."

Sending and receiving emails are important parts of his job. On average, he gets an email every 45 minutes. Sometimes, the interval between emails is only two minutes. Other times, it’s three hours. Although many of these emails are unimportant or stress-inducing, some of them are fun. Before long, whenever Michael S has an internet connection, he starts refreshing his email inbox every 30 minutes, and then every five minutes and then, occasionally, every two minutes. Before long, it’s a compulsive tic – the pecking pigeon of web usage.
If the internet is addictive, why don’t we regulate it?
posted by rorgy on Nov 29, 2015 - 42 comments

Steve Albini essay

Why I Haven't Had a Conventional Christmas in 20 Years
posted by josher71 on Nov 23, 2015 - 30 comments

"Let my people go"

1971: Fifth grader David Simon offers up a prayer: "Dear God, if you let Mike Epstein hit a home run right now, I will never, ever skip Hebrew school again." And lo, Mike "SuperJew" Epstein did indeed smack one deep into the upper deck. But less than a month later Simon was once again skipping Hebrew School.

It is now nearly half a century since a small boy asked his god to hang a Vida Blue pitch for his hero, and neither team with which he has allied himself has to this moment returned to a World Series. His foregone conclusion: "I gotta get right with God."
posted by zarq on Nov 20, 2015 - 29 comments

“how does one reconcile writing “the end” when life is still unfolding?”

Begin Again: On Endings in Nonfiction by E. V. De Cleyre [Ploughshares.org]
Talking, or writing, about endings is hard—whether it’s the end of a marriage, the end of a life, or the end of a book (lest one spoil the conclusion). Life rarely offers sudden and definitive endings or epiphanic conclusions. Rather, events leading up to the end seem to be a slow unfolding, occasionally bleeding into a new beginning. For writers of nonfiction, dealing with actual occurrences often means there is no definitive end, and even if there were (such as a death), there comes the aftermath—the grief, the coping, the rebuilding.
posted by Fizz on Nov 20, 2015 - 2 comments

“I suspect ‘chess rage’ & ‘road rage’ are neighbouring neural impulses.”

An Art Without an Artwork By Tom Russell [Guernica Magazine] A summer of chess in Bryant Park.
“Another way to distinguish a great chess player from an average one is to gauge how comfortable he or she is with tension. After the opening flurry of moves it is inevitable that a tension accrue somewhere on the board—a cluster of opposing pieces all vying for control of a vital square. The temptation for most is to resolve that tension by trading off pieces and simplifying the position. Experts let it build and build, and pounce only when they identify a clear way to gain an advantage. Everything you’d want to know about a person psychologically is there to see on the chessboard.”
posted by Fizz on Nov 15, 2015 - 11 comments

“the few comprehend a principle, the many require an illustration.”

Frederick Douglass's Faith in Photography by Matthew Pratt Guterl [The New Republic] How the former slave and abolitionist became the most photographed man in America.
He wrote essays on the photograph and its majesty, posed for hundreds of different portraits, many of them endlessly copied and distributed around the United States. He was a theorist of the technology and a student of its social impact, one of the first to consider the fixed image as a public relations instrument. Indeed, the determined abolitionist believed fervently that he could represent the dignity of his race, inspiring others, and expanding the visual vocabulary of mass culture.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Nov 8, 2015 - 4 comments

“The aims of life are the best defense against death.”

The Art of Witness by James Wood [The New Yorker] How Primo Levi survived.
“Primo Levi [wiki] did not consider it heroic to have survived eleven months in Auschwitz. Like other witnesses of the concentration camps, he lamented that the best had perished and the worst had survived. But we who have survived relatively little find it hard to believe him. How could it be anything but heroic to have entered Hell and not been swallowed up? To have witnessed it with such delicate lucidity, such reserves of irony and even equanimity? Our incomprehension and our admiration combine to simplify the writer into a needily sincere amalgam: hero, saint, witness, redeemer.”
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Nov 2, 2015 - 8 comments

"I'm sorry you're offended."

"I'm sorry you're offended." [more inside]
posted by Nevin on Nov 1, 2015 - 25 comments

I am named after the daughter my father lost

"What's in a Necronym?" by Jeannie Vanasco: "Whether the knowledge affected van Gogh—that he shared both his name and birthday with a dead sibling—remains unknown, the guide said. 'Does anyone have any questions?' he asked. My mind filled with loud, hurried thoughts and just as suddenly emptied, like a flock of birds scattering from a field." [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 31, 2015 - 27 comments

"It's a metaphor for everything I've ever failed at."

"There are two kinds of women: those who knit and those who unravel. I am a great unraveler. I can undo years of careful stitching in fifteen gluttonous minutes. It isn't even a decision, really. Once I see the loose thread, I am undone. It's over before I have even asked myself the question: Do I actually want to destroy this?" [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 12, 2015 - 17 comments

웃 i am not here and this is not really happening.

After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 2, 2015 - 63 comments

"I don’t want to be left alone inside myself."

What will I hear when my ears stop working? by Ysabelle Cheung [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 28, 2015 - 30 comments

“I defer to no one in my love for America and for Christianity.”

Fear by Marilynne Robinson [New York Review of Books]
“There is something I have felt the need to say, that I have spoken about in various settings, extemporaneously, because my thoughts on the subject have not been entirely formed, and because it is painful to me to have to express them. However, my thesis is always the same, and it is very simply stated, though it has two parts: first, contemporary America is full of fear. And second, fear is not a Christian habit of mind. As children we learn to say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” We learn that, after his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples, “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Christ is a gracious, abiding presence in all reality, and in him history will finally be resolved.”
posted by Fizz on Sep 9, 2015 - 23 comments

The Democracy of Difficult Fiction

The value of fiction was clear to Virginia Woolf, who argued that nonfiction consists of half-truths and approximations that result in a "very inferior form of fiction." In Woolf's terms, reading ambitious fiction isn't comfortable or easy. Far from it: "To go from one great novelist to another—from Jane Austen to Hardy, from Peacock to Trollope, from Scott to Meredith—is to be wrenched and uprooted; to be thrown this way and then that." The illuminations that fiction offers are gained only with considerable effort. "To read a novel is a difficult and complex art," Woolf wrote. "You must be capable not only of great fineness of perception, but of great boldness of imagination if you are going to make use of all that the novelist—the great artist—gives you."
The Virtues of Difficult Fiction by Joanna Scott. She was interviewed by Larry Mantle on public radio show AirTalk about her essay. In the passage above Scott's quoting Woolf's How Should One Read a Book?
posted by Kattullus on Sep 7, 2015 - 16 comments

“Nature,” wrote Hitler, “knows no political boundaries.”

Hitler's World by Timothy Snyder [New York Review of Books]
In Hitler’s world, the law of the jungle was the only law. People were to suppress any inclination to be merciful and were to be as rapacious as they could. Hitler thus broke with the traditions of political thought that presented human beings as distinct from nature in their capacity to imagine and create new forms of association. Beginning from that assumption, political thinkers tried to describe not only the possible but the most just forms of society. For Hitler, however, nature was the singular, brutal, and overwhelming truth, and the whole history of attempting to think otherwise was an illusion. Carl Schmitt, a leading Nazi legal theorist, explained that politics arose not from history or concepts but from our sense of enmity. Our racial enemies were chosen by nature, and our task was to struggle and kill and die.
posted by Fizz on Sep 5, 2015 - 50 comments

We are each other's holding bread

Anne Lamott on being young, being old, and feeling safe. [SLFacebook]
posted by Mchelly on Aug 24, 2015 - 12 comments

“So you have put your hope in something else.”

Living in the Age of Permawar by Mohsin Hamid [The Guardian]
You see from your nook that humanity is afflicted by a great mass murderer about whom we are encouraged not to speak. The name of that murderer is Death. Death comes for everyone. Sometimes Death will pick out a newborn still wet from her aquatic life in her mother’s womb. Sometime Death will pick out a man with the muscles of a superhero, pick him out in repose, perhaps, or in his moment of maximum exertion, when his thighs and shoulders are trembling and he feels most alive. Sometimes Death will pick singly. Sometimes Death will pick by the planeload. Sometimes Death picks the young, sometimes the old, and sometimes Death has an appetite for the in-between. You feel it is strange that humanity does not come together to face this killer, like a silver-flashing baitball of 7 billion fish aware of being hunted by a titanic and ravenous shark. Instead, humanity scatters. We face our killer alone, or in families, or in towns or cities or tribes or countries. But never all together.
posted by Fizz on Aug 23, 2015 - 7 comments

Achieving a sense of peace

And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.
Sabbath, an essay by Oliver Sacks (NYT) [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 17, 2015 - 15 comments

The word 'Pajubá' mean 'gossip' or 'news'.

"Pajubá is one of the many queer anti-languages of the world. People study them in 'Lavender Linguistics'. It's hard to study those languages because their usefulness vanishes if they are not secret anymore. Pajubá is a moving target, evolving so rapidly that it can't be documented." — Pajubá: The secret language of Brazilian trans women [via mefi projects]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 3, 2015 - 6 comments

We wanted to fill our bellies with America

Sizzler and the Search for the American Dream :: Inside the paper was another brick, bright yellow-orange and vacuum-sealed in plastic. We had never seen food that color before. We had never eaten anything that perfectly geometric. It sat in our fridge for days, like an unwelcome guest that never said anything. It just sat there without a word of explanation. We had staring contests every day. The cheese always won. I always had to blink. [more inside]
posted by anastasiav on Jul 22, 2015 - 72 comments

a facsimile of intimacy, a love-shaped house for isolation to live in

"This is one of the ways in which my second adolescence was absolutely faithful to the first: it was so difficult, so emotionally overwrought, so suffused with terror and confusion and embarrassment. It takes a perverse kind of bravery to start over—it's a selfish and deluded thing to do, and you need that courage to deal with what comes next. It's one thing to burn your life down and walk out of the ashes, but nobody tells you the phoenix is born as a tender, featherless baby bird."

A Midlife Crisis, By Any Other Name: an essay by Jess Zimmerman (previously, previouslier) for Hazlitt. [via]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 20, 2015 - 64 comments

"You can go wild on the wall, everything that comes to your imagination"

"The thing I find very exciting is waiting for the subway train and sometimes you'll get a glorious one that arrives decorated like a birthday cake!" Watching My Name Go By is a short 1976 BBC documentary about graffiti, artists, and graffiti artists in New York City. The film is based on Norman Mailer's 1974 essay for Esquire magazine, "The Faith of Grafitti." [via]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 16, 2015 - 5 comments

Let Me Express Myself

The Invisible Man: The End of A Black Life That Mattered Or how Charly Keunang finally went home.
posted by stagewhisper on Jul 11, 2015 - 8 comments

Maybe White People Really Don't See Race — Maybe That's The Problem

For the majority of white people, race is something that happens to other people. Whiteness is a default that needs no name — all deviations must be categorized and given a "race." If race is always something that happens to other people, how are you able to see the part you play in the system?
An essay by Ijeoma Oluo (previously, previouslier) for Scenarios USA. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 9, 2015 - 73 comments

the essential work of art is to magnify the ordinary

As with anything in this world, excess is excess, but inadequate is inadequate. A writer must know when the weight of the words used to describe a scene is bearing down on the scene itself. A writer should develop the measuring tape to know when to describe characters' thoughts in long sentences and when not to. But a writer, above all, should aim to achieve artistry with language which, like the painter, is the only canvas we have. Writers should realize that the novels that are remembered, that become monuments, would in fact be those which err on the side of audacious prose, that occasionally allow excess rather than those which package a story — no matter how affecting — in inadequate prose.
Chigozie Obioma for The Millions: The Audacity of Prose.
posted by divined by radio on Jun 23, 2015 - 9 comments

There are no easy answers.

How to Love Your Father When He’s in Prison for Child Porn, an essay by Lindsay Popper. SFW. Some may find the content disturbing.
posted by zarq on Jun 19, 2015 - 61 comments

Older and Wiser

What Ten Years in Kenya Have Taught Me
posted by infini on Jun 14, 2015 - 11 comments

...an impossible task.

The New Normal: Pieces of Grief, by Stephanie Wittels Wachs, sister of Parks and Recreation's co-executive producer Harris Wittels, who passed away in February.
posted by zarq on Jun 13, 2015 - 19 comments

"but was that really murder, though?" "was that really assault?"

This is hard, this divided attention. But it isn't just an emotional and intellectual focus divided by half. This is no mere doubled consciousness. Race in this country, with each successive generation, with every historical echo, and for all our technological advancement, has become a prism. This new racial prism — this 24-hour access to every horrible, three-dimensional detail of black trauma, requires constant, multiplicitous division. I can anticipate occasional euphoria, but I will always do so with the understanding that injustice will disrupt my joy. That is its own kind of violence, a forced splintering of identity, intellect, and emotion.
On the second day of her successfully crowdfunded trip to the THREAD at Yale program, stacia l. brown wrote an essay on race, consciousness, and black trauma in America as viewed through The Racial Prism. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jun 10, 2015 - 7 comments

he can’t see me

“One night we were eating spaghetti and meatballs and it fell out and rolled across the kitchen table. You said, ‘Dad, your eye popped out’ and kept on eating. I’ll never forget it. You must have been seven or eight. He felt so bad about that—for your sake.”
“I don’t think it bothered me,” I say.
“He worried it bothered you.”
The Glass Eye, by Jeannie Vanasco
posted by zarq on Jun 8, 2015 - 7 comments

After Water

Susie Cagle writes about California's drought impact on the people of Porterville
posted by boo_radley on Jun 3, 2015 - 18 comments

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