Essays

Creative nonfiction essays

On the Way to CNN (or, Strife During Wartime)

It’s March 2003, and a late snowstorm is capping what was the snowiest winter since 1978 when we were all kids and school closed for a week. I’ve got a wood stove and a novel to write, and I should be sitting in front of the one and working on the other. Instead, I’m in […]

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Channel Your Ambition

One of the most interesting things I have discovered since losing my job is that TBS shows four back-to-back reruns of the television show Dawson’s Creek every morning from 8am to noon. Today, unfortunately, there was a conflicting event: a "Women For Hire" job fair was held in downtown Boston. Being a woman for hire […]

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Silver Balloons

In my search for employment, I overtalked, confessing to anyone who would listen that for six years I had been silent. I was proud of the length of my suffering.

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Loose Lips Sink Ships

The classified ad in San Francisco’s Bay Guardian was straight out of a doper’s dream: Marijuana Research Subjects Wanted. Sure, why not?! In those days—late 1975—it seemed surprising that the U.S. government was still trying to figure out the physiological effects of cannabis, but if they were willing to pay folks to smoke their Mississippi-grown […]

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The Wild, Wild West Side

Located in the basement of 20 W. 20th Street since 1965, West Side advertises itself as the “friendliest range in town.” It’s also the only range in town.

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Undecorated Dad

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say "These wounds I had on Crispin’s day." –Henry V, iv, iii He considered going over to kill Hitler or Hirohito or somebody, but Uncle Sam had no boots or uniforms anywhere near his size. So they put him in Military Intelligence and sent […]

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Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and The Sickness unto Death

Kierkegaard, the father of existentialism, says that we realize not peace but only anguish.

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Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism and Human Emotions and Literature & Existentialism

Unlike many writers who oozed existential philosophy from every drop of ink that bled on their manuscripts, Jean-Paul Sartre does not shy from submitting a definition of existentialism.

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New Wave Knitters

Until recently, knitting only sparked my interest once before. I was six years old, stuffed on whole milk and liverwurst sandwiches, and waiting on my grandmother’s couch for my mother to come pick me up. The room was shadowed with nightfall, blue with television (the evening news), and oppressively boring — the violent clicking of […]

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Marching Towards Nelson

When I was running away from the army in Swaziland I came across Nelson Mandela’s book, No Easy Walk to Freedom. It was a time when I had difficulty with any literature except pornography and Doris Lessing. All the devils of the military were on my tail and it was hard to concentrate. But I […]

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Groping Marlon Brando’s Face: A Long-Overdue Confession

I can’t recall exactly what triggered the incident, but it started like this: I was sitting on a sofa in a dimly lit room…gazing down at the face of a sleeping Marlon Brando…unable to resist the urge to do the unthinkable. Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear—none of what happened that night was […]

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Corporations Possess; Public Access Is Torn: Télévision Vérité. Liebography.

Although it’s tempting to disregard television as plebian entertainment, something I often do, the fact remains that there are near-limitless possibilities for challenging and fascinating television "programming," …

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