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Purify

August 25, 2010
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When I was a sophomore in high school, I watched Gone with the Wind three times in a row, and cried myself stupid. The first time I heard The Cure’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, the summer after 7th grade, it was all I listened to. Back in the days when you had to rewind over and over to hear a song on repeat. I read Calvin and Hobbes obsessively, forgave him for...

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The modesty scale

July 24, 2010
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One of the funniest questions I have ever been asked, dressed in a tiny hospital gown as the nurses induced me for labor, having just had a stranger’s fingers in my vagina for the second time that hour, went something like this, “Where would you say you fall on the modesty scale?” I have been thinking this week about shame, about a story I am ashamed to tell. And I’ve decided to tell it...

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Adolescence, Take 2

June 26, 2010
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My husband outed me to my parents when I was thirty.  I’d been dating girls since I was fifteen, but it was always discreet.  So, I’m thirty, with an infant, and suddenly, free from my last secret.  (Sort of.  I have two more secrets, but I’ll probably tell you at some point, so don’t fret.)  My family losing their shit with me, and my marriage ending (the two are related) kind of crush the...

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My Henry James Tour

May 25, 2010
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We were alone in the hostel dorm room when the Egyptian boy put his hand down my pants.  “No,” I said. And he slapped me.  The fury I unleashed was fucking seismic.  He stepped backwards with his hands raised, palms up.  Appomattox.  Oh, look, a boundary.  I was 22.  In Scotland.  I’d spent the morning in a church graveyard feeling spiritual.  Three weeks later, in Venice, I deliberately got lost.  Wending my way deeper...

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Simple

April 18, 2010
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I used to feel that I spent an inordinate amount of time writing about grief.  Particularly during the writing of Field Guide, I resisted giving the proper weight to the aunt’s death, because I didn’t want to.  I kept thinking about my mother’s comment, “Why do the mother figures in your stories always die?” But, the truth is, I also spend a lot of time writing about joy.  About love.  About desire. Yesterday was...

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Saturn Return

April 15, 2009
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My Saturn Return was a serious flaying. Birth of first child, quit job, get another job, affair, separation, date crazy girl, divorce, family bothered by divorce and by girl, etc. It was a really long journey. And most of what I learned was that everything is transient. Eventually even pain ends. That’s kind of a crucial concept, really. Kind of a hopeful one.  I think Saturn is about the strip down. The paring away...

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Grief

January 22, 2009
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The last year we lived in Missouri, I was a fourth grader, and my father had taken over the division chapel where the basic trainees came every Sunday by the hundreds (if they went to a church service, they didn’t have to participate in drills). What I remember most from that year, was a family that moved in down the street from us, and discovered, in a heavy trunk in their garage, the body...

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Health

December 7, 2008
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I got sick when I was twenty-five. Actually, the story must begin differently. I want to tell about the time I went to Pipeline, my first summer in Hawaii, with my family and some of our friends. I’d swum out maybe twenty feet when a wave rolled me, and held me under. I came up in time to be nailed and pinned by another. Over and over. I’d fight up in time to be...

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Of Two Minds: A Reflexive Argument

December 7, 2008
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One mind: I’m the middle child of modern feminism. My older sisters broke ground, are radical, and kind of stiff, and like to give lectures. My younger sisters are dressing like Johnny Rotten and can take their girlfriends to prom with the wholehearted approval of their parents, teachers, and peers. And me, I keep my head down and work jobs alongside guys for the same wage and vote and play competitive sports. The assumption...

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Tarnished

July 4, 2008
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I like my heroes dirty. Just imagine how insufferable Christ would have been if he hadn’t hung out with hookers and tax agents. Prometheus chained to a rock for sneaking fire to mortals. Lyra abandoning her daemon Pan at the riverbank in the underworld. Stephen Maturin doping himself with laudanum and cocaine. Sacrifice means less if it costs nothing. I am a sucker for imperfect salvation. I get my definition of lesbianism from Jesus...

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