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AP English

June 5, 2017
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We didn’t sit at the back of the classroom, though we were closest to the door. As the classroom was long and lean, we sat at the outer edge. The two girls on my left were new to Hawaii for their senior year of high school. I can’t remember if they were military kids, but that seems most likely. The blonde told us, on the first day, that she was from Texas, and the...

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Talk talk

May 2, 2014
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The best advice I got when my kid was born was to talk to him. “Just tell him what you’re doing if you can’t think of anything else to say,” a nurse told me. Language is important for brain development, of course, but there’s something much more basic going on here. You’re bonding with your baby by talking. In the same way prayer, meditation, or talking aloud to your pets lowers blood pressure and...

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Crisis in reflection

April 25, 2014
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Four years ago I was a train wreck. I couldn’t sleep, had stopped eating, and was powering my way through the world with so much coffee that I’d tremble whenever I sat down. I remember that time the way I remember childhood. I remember it with tenderness. I suspect one of the worst things that can happen to you is that you get away with it. That you palm off consequences onto other people....

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Now we are two

August 20, 2013
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My massage therapist advises me to notice. To notice the way that my body moves, the way I hold myself. To notice where I ache, and make no judgment. “How is your body feeling?” she asks. It’s a lovely question. It’s a question filled with notice. Notice how your right arm stretches up up up as though you were still a child flush with joy. Notice how your heart thrums and your breath rasps...

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Unplug and be free

March 15, 2012
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My site got hacked, and Mary’s phone broke, and you start to suspect that maybe you should play outside more. So I gathered kindling, stacked firewood. Thought about my heart. In graduate school, I went through a brief and poorly advised period of makeup wearing. Eyeliner. Mascara. Even lipstick sometimes. I worried about my hair. I fussed with it. The good news: I’m allergic to makeup. Around 10 p.m. every night my eyes would...

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Orient

February 29, 2012
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We’d been left in the car — a common occurrence twenty-seven years ago — and he’d taken the keys, despite the cold, to run into the post office. From the front seat, I watched a bent old woman amble down the staircase, cross the sidewalk and then slip under a parked car. I smashed my head against the window trying to see what the hell had happened to her. She slid from sight like...

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Recovery

July 4, 2011
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Even eating a brownie, across the table from me, he’s not OK. “Do you want to tell me?” I ask. “I can’t say,” he says. “How’s the brownie?” “I like it,” he says. “Do you know about reputation?” He shakes his head. “What is it?” “It’s this story that some people believe about you. Like in Harry Potter when some people believe that he wants to be a hero so badly that he makes...

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Faux power

November 12, 2010
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Mary works as an inpatient addiction counselor. This week the clients had a secret-keeping exercise. Each was tasked to write down every secret she’d kept since entering treatment. They were separated while they wrote out their lists. Usually it’s a purifying exercise. A chance to be wholly honest and let shit go. This time, a tight group kept their secrets, and since they essentially ran the house, they expected everyone else to keep their...

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Open Letter

November 3, 2010
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You still have my first letter, and so you probably remember it better than I do. But what’s more important, perhaps, is what isn’t written. Not in any of them. I was bereft before I met you. Convinced, at last, that I’d always be alone in my relationships. They were sound and fury. Years of sea in every direction. And I didn’t tell you then how skeptical I was of olive branches. Of doves....

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Who hasn't left an exoskeleton?

August 25, 2010
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No one remembers the girl who made improbable speeches. She’s like those locust shells she used to find on trees in Missouri. A relic to rival the Sex Pistols. In August, the scars hurt a bit more. School kids. The cycle relentless. I meant to achieve something definitive. Wall hangings. An entire bookshelf of my canon. I’m probably kidding. What is the ego for anyway? To spurn us? Do we have it for absolution?...

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