Love, Labor, Loss

First, a confession: In 2011, I penned a pseudonymous article under the name Sally Racket (an anagram of Crystal Lake) for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s advice column. I’ve never publicly owned my authorship of “Survivor’s Guilt,” which describes how, well, guilty I felt when I learned that I’d finally landed a tenure-track job in English […]

Psycho (But Cute)

I used to think my emotional baseline was crazy, and even crazier that one week (if I’m lucky) out of the month when I’m in thrall to the indifferent mercy of the premenstrual cycle. During that week, in a condition of “existential disorientation,” to borrow Stephen Ahern’s words, I would gain, albeit temporarily, extraordinary powers […]

A Love Letter for Anne of Green Gables

What was it exactly? The moxie of Anne, her habit of wearing her heart on her sleeve, her unabashed love for her best friend and her crush? Her canny insights, her rhapsodizing about nature, her orphan-ness, her anger, her smarts, her shame, her triumphs? That baking soda company essay she wrote (presaging the artist-selling-out trope), the […]


‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all – Tennyson, “In Memoriam” Tennyson. I’ve never wanted to believe him here. Out of context, his statement feels like the kind of cold-comfort-yoga-self-help advice you’d share with a friend, in a dark moment, when what that friend really wants is a hug […]

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