Jill Malone

Self styled

Busy Philipps is reading her memoir to me. Of all the high school characters, I find Kim Kelly the most recognizable. I know that girl. I’ve been that girl. And Philipps’ memoir is as compelling as her tough-girl character from Freaks and Geeks. I like the way she tells her story. Admitting, immediately, that it’s …

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Last best thing

Last night, while watching the spectacularly moving Marriage Story, I revisited the horror that was my divorce. We did all those things. Sat quietly in a room and agreed that we wanted an amicable divorce without lawyers or pettiness. And then he went out the next day and hired “us” an attorney. And “our attorney” …

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Shrooms

My brother is the only person I’ve ever accepted drugs from. Despite being a terrible student in a rigorously academic family, he knew everything about drugs. When he gave me a second batch of hallucinogenic mushrooms, he told me to take them with food. “Try pasta,” he said. We cooked them with steak. They smelled …

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Genre fiction

The eagles are back at their nest. Or in trees nearby. Whenever they return, the meadow quiets of birdsong, and the doves hide. What if all our stories are love stories? Once they end, I mean. I’d stretched the ladder, leaned it against the porch roof, and climbed up. I used a broom to sweep …

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Yeah and yay are different

If you’ve ever taken a writing class, you’ve probably met this Flannery O’Connor quote: “Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” My teachers loved to use …

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BEAUTY! MESS!

You are 22. Snow on the cars; ice on the streets. She came out of her house at 4 a.m., barefoot, in a nightshirt, and kissed you for hours. She stood on your boots, her hands clasped at your neck, and kissed you.So lithe you could lift her. You write heartbreak and violence. Poems where …

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The meaningful meaningless invective

I get a number of emails every year from someone trying to police my language. “You’re too smart to use so many 4-letter words,” they tend to write. Using that old shaming technique that my grandmother tried out on me when I was a child. “Only ignorant people talk like that, JillAmy.” Bullshit. Talk however …

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Uncertain

I’m listening to Brene Brown read her book, Rising Strong. And it feels like she wrote the entire thing specifically to address issues I struggle with. What I find most compelling about Brown is her honesty about anger. She talks about how often her first response is anger. In our culture, we rarely acknowledge women’s …

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Holier

Years ago, I saw a play where one woman told another, “I can’t stand these young women who say their names like there’s a question mark at the end. Like they aren’t quite sure their name IS their name. Maybe it isn’t?” I stressed about that for ages. I told every woman I knew about …

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Letter to a woman as she ages

When you were 44, you fell in love with the young woman you had been. The one that used to embarrass you with her earnestness, her certainty. Do you still remember the day that you woke on the beach in Kaneohe with your head in the lap of another girl, and her tears falling on …

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