Essays Archives - The Millions

November 30, 2016

Something Sinister on the North Shore 4

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Once cracks start showing, you’re supposed to do your best to look away.

November 28, 2016

Gifting the Human Body: On Karen Russell’s ‘Sleep Donation’ and Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’ 0

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These two sci-fi tales pose pressing ethical questions that affect us now: What motivates organ donation? How does donation work in a for-profit health care industry? What are our obligations to others and what are our rights to our organs and tissues?

November 23, 2016

Clean Eating on the Wild Edge of Sorrow 10

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The real problem with aspiring to a spotless life is that, best-case scenario, upon arrival you realize that there’s nothing there. It’s like a wooden facade on the set of an old Western movie. It does exist; you can touch it, but you can also knock it over with a single push.

November 18, 2016

Past Imperfect: On Patrick Modiano’s ‘Little Jewel’ and ‘The Black Notebook’ 0

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Life is a routine, one day after another, while the big events take place as though in another galaxy, and yet briefly, intimately, they sometimes touch us, gently nudging us like one billiard ball tapping another before rolling away and vanishing into a distant pocket.

November 16, 2016

Fake Failures: Why Are Successful Young Women Writers Playing Miserable Online? 9

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The flippant micro-chronicling of every bad mood, awkward exchange, and looming, soon-to-be-abdicated responsibility works to obscure all of the privilege, yes, but also all of the striving that got you to the big boys’ table in the first place, and to undermine your actual (often extremely good) work.

November 15, 2016

This Is a Story with a Happy Ending: On the Life of Juan Gelman 0

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A creator of words, a maker of meanings, Gelman once told an interviewer: “I write poetry because I have no other remedy.’’

November 14, 2016

Trauma Is the Thing We Inherit 0

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When I started this essay, my father was on his deathbed and now as I finish it, he is no longer alive. When I think of his past, I find myself asking: How much did his past shape him? How much of a choice did he have in becoming the man he became?

November 7, 2016

Scissoring, Othering, and ‘The Handmaiden’ 19

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What is it with straight people, especially straight men, and scissoring? Among the many sexual acts that queer women perform with each other, this one seems, at least in our experience, to be the one that fascinates them the most.

November 4, 2016

The Things My Books Carried 0

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In The Stranger by Albert Camus: A greeting card and a blank envelope. The card has a cartoon king on the cover and inside it says, “You rule!” There is nothing else written anywhere.

November 2, 2016

Books Should Send Us Into Therapy: On The Paradox of Bibliotherapy 8

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Bibliotherapy’s goal should not necessarily be to make us feel better. It should be to make us feel more, to feel deeper, to feel more honestly.