Radicals, neighbors, and being expected to hide your grief at work

Welcome back to Memoir Monday—a weekly newsletter and quarterly reading series, brought to you by NarrativelyThe RumpusCatapultLongreadsGranta, and Guernica. Each essay in this newsletter has been selected by the editors at the above publications as the best of the week, delivered to you all in one place. 

Radical Enough

by Louisa Pavlik (art by Dara Herman Zierlein)

The first time I visited your house, there was a rifle in the corner. I called to mind the latest news reports detailing the violence committed by white men with guns. Then, detecting no tendency toward violence in you, I saw the gun as an indicator of our differences in upbringing, in the ways we came to see the world. You said to me, in not so many words, I am never radical enough for you. And later, You just keep finding new and more creative ways to break up with me. The gun was a gift from your grandfather. You could never put a bullet in any living thing and hadn’t consumed meat in the latter half of your thirty years.

Read more at The Rumpus

No One Should Have to Ignore Their Grief, Yet It’s Long Been Expected of People of Color

by Nadia Owusu

“It seems like many of my white colleagues are just realizing how terrible everything is, and that is infuriating,” an African American friend I’ll call Sarita, who works for another social justice nonprofit, recently told me over Facetime. Then she reconsidered: “Well, maybe some of them realized it when Trump was elected president, but they forgot again.”

Read more at Catapult

Lloyd’s Mattress

by Scott Korb

At the foot of the stairs, I made eye contact with the woman in the couple, then eyed the mattress, deciding whether to help, recalling a moment early in our relationship when my wife and I, alone, moved a dark brown couch down the narrow staircase leading from a Brooklyn studio I had for a year. There was yelling that day and we were still young.

Read more at Longreads

My Secret Life as a Personal Assistant to “America’s Most Eligible Man”

by Joanna Greenberg

Ben, whose name I have changed here to protect his privacy, was 15 years my senior, but he kindly refrained from pointing out that I was getting a very expensive degree from a very prestigious school in a field that was almost guaranteed to make me no money. “Poetry. Huh. That’s … great. Actually, I’m a bit of a creative myself.”

Read more at Narratively

The Kobold

by Daisy Hildyard

I had believed that it was dangerous to open up the individual in this way. To tear open the human self, I reasoned, would jeopardize those rights of self-possession, and this, in turn, would put the most vulnerable individuals at risk. In fact it is the other way round. A belief in self-containment is what corrodes human skin.

Read more at Granta

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