Welcome back to Memoir Monday—a weekly newsletter and a quarterly reading series, brought to you by Narratively, The Rumpus, Catapult, Granta, Guernica, and Literary Hub. Each personal 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.
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How Do You Deliver a Baby in the Middle of a Storm with One Generator, No Water, and No Electricity?
by Belle Marie Torres Velázquez (Art by Clare Nauman )
"We didn’t have a way to communicate other than satellite phone. In order to use it, you have to go outside, point it at the right angle to pick up a signal, and then hope that there are no clouds to interrupt the signal. So, there was no way to use the phone and deliver the baby. No way that someone could guide me through the birth.”
The Climate Crisis Is Changing the Taste of Wine
by Meg Bernhard (Photograph by Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)
"Wine, Carmen told me as we swirled the ruby liquid in our glasses, tells the story of the year, of the land. It tells of dryness and wetness, storms and serenity. The taste of the year is subtle, present in the sweetness, the bitterness, the acidity of the drink. Such flavors are legible to the people who know to taste for them. But even I, who didn’t yet know how to read wine, could tell when something was amiss."
by Fathima Cader (Photo from the Library and Archives of Canada.)
"We live in the afterlife of apocalypse. At best, law is a metaphor for violence. At worst, it is its henchman. When I teach law, it is with grief at my back, and with a sort of dull-eyed search for reprieve. We are ensnarled — our bodies, and our deaths. Our histories and our revolts; each is a story about the other."
by Colin Herd (Photography by Robbie Lawrence)
"My great-aunt would cook lentil soup, and she made amazing pancakes, but this period also coincided with increasing disorientation and confusion which ended up being diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. She would talk about a blue light, which gave her a lot of anxiety, and us, too, because we assumed it was the gas on her hob, but the blue light sometimes came from the sink. She always asked if I had a girlfriend, and I always said ‘no’ and smiled. I stood on the stairs to read the birthday poem, which everyone greeted, of course, with kindness. "
Searching for Gwen
by Laurie Easter (Art by Lauren Kaelin)
"It wasn’t always fractures and chaos. There were times of sweetness and fun. There was the Oregon Country Fair. By day we sold velvet and lace halter tops, shawls, skirts, and dresses we had designed and sewn together. By night we roamed the oak-tree paths arm in arm so as not to lose one another. There was the trip to Arcata for her birthday to see Rickie Lee Jones in concert at Humboldt State University. We stopped at the Smith River along the way, stripped off our clothes and plunged into the icy green water. We lay on our backs bobbing above the rocks, water sluicing over and around our curves until our pale skin turned watermelon from the cold."
Don’t miss Catapult’s “Don’t Write Alone” series of articles and essays on the craft of writing! Check out this recent essay:
The Memoir Time Machine
by Julie Metz (Illustration by Bill Watterson)
"In the years since I published a memoir about my husband's sudden death and the discoveries of infidelity that followed, I've received emails from readers who want to be sure that my life has turned out all right."
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