All posts filed under: Creative Nonfiction

It Can Be War – Funhouse

“Are you going to have this for the rest of your life?” “Yeah.” “Wow. That really sucks.” The question was put to me by a dear friend, from whom the abrupt vernacular felt comforting. The things that ‘suck’ are myriad – exhaustion, malaise, fever, low-threshold for even the mildest of illnesses, blisters. I have been relegated into a world of self-care by necessity. Self-care, or else. I am not one to necessarily neglect my health; I know the warning signs of my body. I know I’ve had too much sugar when I get tongue ulcers – or I’ve been drinking too much if I break out – turbulence in airplanes is a direct connection to my anxiety, as is being late, and not hearing from friends in a ‘reasonable’ amount of time. These are the banalities of being a human in a body. But I know it can be much worse – it can be war.

On Claudia Highbaugh – The Wisdom Daily

I don’t expect Claudia to answer the phone, so when her voice crackles through the speaker, I rush quickly out of my office to the balcony, stepping into the frigid October afternoon. I’m in London, and when Claudia says hello her voice is heavy with sleep. It’s only 8am on the east coast. I’ve called to ask her if there’s anything she wants me to leave out in this piece I’m writing – “about you – about us,” I vaguely explain. “Write whatever you want. I trust you,” Claudia says. “Famous last words!” Her laugh, which is more like a giggle, is infectious. She laughs like a woman unencumbered, and it makes me laugh too. Claudia is excited by the piece, though not because she is its subject. She pauses thoughtfully, and then says “mentoring is not something we really talk about in higher education. We talk a lot about advisors but not so much about mentors. About someone who sticks with you through it all.” She would know. Claudia Highbaugh is the Dean of …

Take it From Me – Oh, Comely

I am a professional listener of music. Years of practice in self-isolation, my headphones lost beneath a mass of curls; hidden – during class, on walks, in the locker room at swim practice. Before technology had caught up with my sleuth listening capabilities, I carried a disc-man around in a knit turquoise bag. I could fit three jewel cases inside with it. Each day, three different CDs. One morning, a classmate nicked it off a bench and hid it. When I realised it was gone I burst into tears in front of our entire middle school. Sobbing, I searched for my homeroom teacher to fix this egregious trespass. Only when the disc-man was safely in my hands did the crying stop. I was 12. I should have been embarrassed, I was embarrassed by nearly everything – but I wasn’t this time. Music was everything. Read more…

Fire and Water – Oh, Comely

My mom went into labour on the evening of 22 July 1989. It was the last of a stretch of inordinately hot days, the kind that make the Manhattan skyline waver against the clouds. I do not know if you could see the stars that night. She was 37 years old, and was in labour for 22 hours. On 23 July, at 6.08pm, I was born. A Leo. I’m no great believer in horoscopes. I find the platitudes to be self-soothing. One more way that we absolve ourselves of responsibility for our actions. I never met an Aries I liked – I’m a Capricorn so it’s no wonder we don’t get on. We toss our hands up to the heavens and blame the stars for our misfortune – mercury is retrograde; the moon is full. Read more…