Pretty Amazing: Two Disabled Activist Memoirs

It might seem like a coincidence: two books released in the same season with "pretty" in the title by disability activists. But the reasons are far more than skin deep. Both authors were told how attractive they were, with the implication or outright statement added that this beauty was wasted on a disabled person. Both … Continue reading Pretty Amazing: Two Disabled Activist Memoirs

The Engines of Nonfiction: Kindling Surprise

This thing is a large plastic container I bought in the duty free section of a German airport on the way home from my aunt's funeral a few years ago. My mom was with me, shaking her head and laughing at this most irrational purchase. It was FILLED with my most favorite candy, called in … Continue reading The Engines of Nonfiction: Kindling Surprise

Reaching other Pain People

The happy thing for me this month is that I am celebrating the release of my essay collection, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System. University of Nebraska Press continues to be a fantastic home for books, and I'm so glad to get to work with them. And I am … Continue reading Reaching other Pain People

Essay Assignment: A Lyric Collaborative Map of Campus

I like playing with web tools for creative writing, but I've been slower about adopting these assignments for classes. In December 2014, I attended a three-day "Digital Humanities" workshop where faculty from the Fairfield U. English Department got to brainstorm ways to integrate digital tools into our courses. One of my colleagues, Shannon Kelley, had spoken … Continue reading Essay Assignment: A Lyric Collaborative Map of Campus

Literary Picks from the New Yorker

Selections from the New Yorker's archives are free this summer, which got me into an obsessive bout of clicking and downloading. I'd recently seen a compendium of good lists of what to read, and then as I read through, I realized the lists' personal essay and memoir selections were a bit sparse. So here are … Continue reading Literary Picks from the New Yorker

Coffees I Have Loved

I have to give up coffee, either temporarily or permanently, I don't know which--it's an autoimmune thing. But really--it's ok. No need to fix it or Match.com fix-me-up with Yerba Mate/green tea/herbal supplements. This is a kind of elegy, and I'm just going through old photographs, remembering the hot kisses from the one who pushed … Continue reading Coffees I Have Loved

Dagoberto Gilb on Writing Essays

On writing essays: "I assure you, every one of them has given me such pleasure and satisfaction, the same kind I had when I used to cut wood with my skilsaw and drive nails and build.... Each word is a rock I've placed personally into a wall--five go in and I pick through a pile … Continue reading Dagoberto Gilb on Writing Essays

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