indecisions, visions, and revisions

Editor in Chief of the 2014 Kenyon Young Writers Anthology and 2013 National Scholastic Silver Medal winner for poetry. One time David Sedaris called me special.

“Many people accept the idea that each of us has a certain resolute innerness—a kernel of selfhood that we can’t share with others. (Levin, at the end of “Anna Karenina,” calls it his “holy of holies,” and says that, no matter how close he grows to the people around him, there will always be “the same wall between my soul’s holy of holies and other people, even my wife.”) What interested Woolf was the way that we become aware of that innerness. We come to know it best, she thought, when we’re forced, at moments of exposure, to shield it against the outside world.

There can be something enjoyable, even revelatory about that feeling of self-protection, which is why we seek out circumstances in which we can feel more acutely the contrast between the outside world and our inner selves. Woolf was fascinated by city life—by the feeling of solitude-on-display that the sidewalk encourages, and by the way that “street haunting,” as she called it, allows you to lose and then find yourself in the rhythm of urban novelty and familiarity. She was drawn to the figure of the hostess: the woman-to-be-looked-at, standing at the top of the stairs, friendly to everyone, who grows only more mysterious with her visibility. (One of the pleasures of throwing a party, Woolf showed, is that it allows you to surprise yourself: surrounded by your friends, the center of attention, you feel your separateness from the social world you have convened.) She showed how parents, friends, lovers, and spouses can become more unknowable over time, not less—there is a core to their personhood that never gives itself up. Even as they put their lives on display, she thought, artists thrive when they maintain a final redoubt of privacy—a wellspring that remains unpolluted by the world outside. “A thing there was that mattered; a thing, wreathed about with chatter, defaced, obscured in her own life, let drop every day in corruption, lies, chatter,” Clarissa thinks, at the end of “Mrs. Dalloway.” Of course, it’s the chatter—the party—that helps her know that she has something to lose in the first place.”

It’s hard to imagine a medical procedure in this country that carries the stigma and judgment that abortion does. Women’s experiences are often seen through the lens of cultural and political battles. If a woman says that she’s relieved after having an abortion, she may be judged for being heartless or unfeeling. If she says that she feels regret, anti-abortion activists use this to push for laws that restrict access to abortion or laws that assume women are incapable of making their own decisions without the interference of others.

So instead, we just don’t talk about it. That’s how abortion came to be discussed as an “issue” instead of an experience.

How can something that one third of women in the United States experience be the focus of intense public debate for decades, with hardly any real firsthand experiences at the center of the discussion? One word: stigma.


Cecile Richards

We need to talk about abortion. And when we talk about abortion, we need to talk about people’s experiences — not politics. 

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8 signs he’s cheating on you

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John Scalzi gets it.

John Scalzi isn’t just an awesome scifi writer, but an awesome person in general.

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— Italo Calvino


— Italo Calvino

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i. the only flaw; you are flawless. i just can’t wait for love to destroy us. ii. what do i share? what do i keep from all the strangers who sleep where i sleep? iii. don’t you wish you were an honest man? don’t you wish you were a better man? iv. if i were a spy in the world inside your head, would i be your wife in a better life you led? v. she lines the pictures in a pretty row, to create the circumstances that the evidence will show. vi. i went to the kitchen and looked at a knife. i watched a stranger fuck the love of my life. it seems i deal with things a bit differently. vii. you’ve gotta look out for the way that she moves, she’ll turn your head inside out. she’d like to let you know she’s easy to please, while a different monster lurks about. viii. well you’ve done it again, virginia. made another masterpiece while i was dreaming. how does it feel to feel like you? ix. i’ve been taming bloody hearts into valentines. i love you like a ruin, babe. i love you like a crime. x. i tried so hard but no one does it like you. xi. and you’re acting like a stranger, ‘cause you thought it looked like fun. and did you ever get the feeling that these are things she’s said before? xii. and the neck her head’s on is a tunnel of dawn, but the darkness will come. for sure, it’s gonna come. xiii. there’s a bear inside your stomach, the cub’s been kicking you for weeks. we’re terrified of one another, terrified of what that means. xiv. and then the old voice crackled through the static, and i felt young and alive. and the hair stood up on the back of my neck, we were rising from the grave, yeah.

/// listen

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