Living to Work in Severance

I’ve been laid off twice in my life. In the leadup to each, workplace conversations converged on a single word: severance, the slasher-flick term for the dough you get when your boss cuts you loose: a feverish name for a feverish thing. If you’re young and have other plans, severance might revive you: instantly, you […]

Richard Powers’s Romanticism

In his Booker Prize-nominated 2021 novel Bewilderment, Richard Powers tells the story of Robin, a nine-year-old boy struggling to cope with the death of his mother and with the difficult truths of climate change. Robin’s empathy for the wild causes him trouble: he’s unable to shut out the pain he feels witnessing what humans are […]

An Ode to the Haircut

How incredibly lucky one must be to get a haircut more than two even three times a year. Once before Christmas, I lied to my mom about taking care of myself and eating fresh fruit and no I haven’t just eaten ramen for six straight days; I also ate store brand everything. I’d even eat […]

Flashes of Light

The night before my youngest daughter was born in August 2020, I finished a round of revisions on my book about pregnant bodies in the Victorian novel. These bodies defy an impulse toward concealment. They whisper the possibility of somatic plots running just under the surface of language, plots that sometimes burble and splash into […]

Love Among the Pods; Or, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Textual Intercourse

the only chance for happiness in this disastrous world … –Mary Wollstonecraft   There’s a moment in Mary Wollstonecraft’s final, unfinished novel Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman (1798) that I think about a lot. It’s the scene where Henry Darnford, having just finished perusing the eponymous heroine’s autobiographical manuscript, proves himself to be the best […]

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