Creative nonfiction essays

Stranger on the Seine

Micah McCrary

Normally my being black makes my being American complicated, but in Paris I found myself perhaps saved by my nationality, by a particular foreignness, with my blackness possibly somewhat overlooked.

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Where It Grows


I’m standing in the grocery store balancing cloves of garlic in either hand. They are for my vagina.

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Skid Row

I was a seemingly innocuous, privately neurotic, stone-broke girl seeking hiatus from the soul-sucking world of fine art, writing, coolly inebriated boys and waitressing.

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Ira Levin’s Creepy Valentine: Rosemary’s Baby and the Power of Place

Rosemary's Baby book cover

Rosemary’s Baby entered my life at the same time as my growing awareness of the power and mystery of place.

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Custerism (A Manifesto of Doubt)

Activist holding sign

I write this to you because I wonder if we can ever overcome what we are: prototypical comfortable liberals with radical pretensions.

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tablets click into sickly amber plastic like the urine they render so urgent in reverse. click (drop), click (drop), streams of static swishing sound heard on the off-air channels of anything analog.

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Sweet Little Comforts

Mont Blanc

My thought is a mandala, a mantra. A round thing turning over and over in my mind. A focus for my eyes and my breath. It’s as close as I come to prayer.

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Normal, IL movie theater

“There will be people who’ll cross the street to avoid you because you’re black,” my mother would tell me when I was younger, in every conversation or argument about race we ever had.

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Night Cycling

Night Cycling

The island was ours; each kissing gate and the kisses inside of them, each water trough, every animal call, root, rock, dock leaf and bunker. Even the moon.

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Gdansk Fever


According to an Ask Jeeves Internet search, Gdansk holds over 300 hotels, not including informal hostels and private “zimmers.” Why so many? I’m glad you asked.

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Meditating with Mabel


We considered Mabel housebroken, but as any good Buddhist—or new dog owner—knows, identity is a construct, subject to change. In other words, accidents happen, especially when no one’s watching.

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If You Think You’re the Best

When I ascended to the den, pliers in hand, to watch the Americans go down in Lillehammer, I knew I didn’t want to go out like them.

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For a While, For the Summer

Coffee mug and press

I want an example, a model for how to live independently, with the smallest bit of indifference and anonymity, without fear, for a while, for the summer.

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The Edith Wharton Inside Me

Edith Wharton

It is rare in my experience that anyone can be both the center and circumference of a circle. How does Edith manage it?

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I Was 16

I was 16 in 1994. I had a crush on a girl at my high school named Stacy. She was two years older — blonde hair, a grunge band on her t-shirt and a constant half-smile on her face — and it goes without saying that she had absolutely no interest in me.

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