Erasure

My name is missing. It’s missing on purpose. The person who penned this obituary decided to exclude my existence. Two of my wife’s family members died recently: Her 108-year-old great grandmother, and her grandfather, both on her maternal side. Their obituaries ran a month apart in the same small town Midwestern paper, both listing many […]

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Sasha Fiercely Not Feminist

There is one moment, above all others in college, that I regret the most. Much more than the men, the blackouts, the Hot Topic t-shirts. It took place on the day of my thesis defense. My creative writing thesis was a memoir manuscript, or at least tried to be. The story followed my first two […]

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The Field We Promise

Stephanie was my student. I helped to teach her Writing class, in an elective offered through her suburban public school. Stephanie was sixteen when I met her, and eighteen when we parted ways. Her writing was flimsy when we began, and with many iterations of feedback, suggestions and support, it got markedly better the first […]

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Photograph / Memory / Sketch

We’re standing in the kitchen of my grandmother’s house. It is a room where I spent many formative hours as a child. Behind us is a circle of dark brown cabinets, swirled with the brushstrokes of the original stain, all of which have knobs with a bright orange flower in the center. The dishwasher with […]

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Dirty Talk with Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and nonfiction, including the most recent story collection God Bless America. He is also a regular contributor to The Rumpus, where you can read his essay “Why I Write Smut: A Manifesto.” I first came across his writing in Tin House’s essay collection on the […]

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Cream of Maggot Soup

Last Saturday Eric and I went mushroom hunting in Sandy River Delta Park. Our goal was to find infamously elusive morels, but after a couple hours we had nothing and Eric had a headache. He lay down on a moss-covered log and I looked under, gasping, “Morel!” But it was only a Verpa bohemica, not […]

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Over-the-Rhine

Winter, 1991 Where do you live? Do you have any family? What street do you live on? Ich lebe in über’m Rhein. Lesley ist meine Tochter. Though Tammy had her headphones on while she mouthed the words of the exercise in response to the German speaker, she could still hear the floorboards squeak when her […]

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Writing about Boston

Writers, so I hear, are supposed to reap meaning from terrible events, using all the negative energy bound up in the world and spinning it out into beautiful words and lessons. I find that when terrible events like Boston happen I tend toward the opposite—I get writer’s block, mostly due to fear that I anything […]

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