All the Essays Your Email Client's Data Limits Will Allow (12)
Welcome to Memoir Monday—a weekly newsletter and a quarterly reading series, brought to you by Narratively, The Rumpus, Catapult, Granta, Guernica, Oldster Magazine, Literary Hub — and now many additional publications.
In addition to the weekly curation, there are now occasional original personal essays under the heading of First Person Singular, for paying subscribers. If you haven’t become a paid subscriber, please consider becoming one.
The first original essay, published in First Person Singular in March, is Not Everyone Survived, by Lori Yeghiayan Friedman, in which she weighs the lasting trauma of a 1988 car accident that took the lives of her high school classmates. The second original essay is coming soon!
Essays from partner publications…
Whatever the Weather
by Lina Tran
“Is home still home when the weather changes? My grandfather knew the importance of weather, which charts the passage of time. It wields the power to determine the quality of a day, whether it’s clear sun against azure or bitter, wet, windy. We get to know the weather where we live. We become attuned to the moods of the sky and what comes next.”
How Obsessively Reading About The Royal Family Got Me Through a Breakdown
by Robert Leleux
"One Sunday morning, around 8am, I began to feel an excruciating ripping sensation in my head like the un-Velcro-ing of a shoe. If you’d asked me what was happening, I’d have said that my brain was detaching itself, twisting in my skull, readying for ejection. I lay on the sofa, quivering like aspic, prepared for my head to come apart in my hands. At this point, my husband dragged me to a very good psychiatrist who prescribed a mood stabilizer that knocked me out for two days. After which, I awoke depressed, but not loony, and stayed in bed for six months, where I barely spoke to anyone and read books about the Windsors.
Confessions of a DMV Vision Test Failure
by Catherine Texier
"My driver’s license came up for renewal, and for the first time, I failed the eye-test. I knew my distance vision wasn’t good, despite my glasses (how many times had I wandered in Brooklyn at night, iPhone in hand, Google Maps open, not being able to decipher the street names?) but that was a blow."
by Amanda Oliver
“I wish you had carried it like a buttercup, like a seashell, like a slice of California orange, like the relief of white linen on a body in the desert, like a single snowflake from our hometown. Not that barb, that boulder, that heavy weapon that made you take yourself from yourself, from everyone, from all of this.”
My First Taste of Protest In a Thai Roadside Café
by Pier Nirandara
“But here that constant seems absent, the walls mounted with mint-colored cupboards, their interiors lined with Milo tins and Buddha statuettes, beloved and bipartisan. The familiar imagery is like a salve for my soul, a feeling of home in the aftermath of chaos. Save for the camera, press badge, and gas mask stuffed inside my bag, there are no signs of last night’s events—the cry for free speech met with water guns and tear gas mere blocks away. Given the café’s history—and my own family’s—it only felt poetic to end up here.”
Essays from around the web…
We Didn't Say 'Gay' At My High School. It Almost Cost Me My Life.
by Noah Michelson
“I hadn’t come out ― that was just not an option ― but everyone still knew. How could they not? My gayness was undisguisable. Unavoidable. Inescapable…No one wanted to be seen with me or talking to me ― unless they were torturing me ― so I spent all of my time alone. Hiding. Holding my breath. Futilely trying to make my body melt into the furniture in whatever room I found myself in…The torture was relentless and enthusiastic and horrific.”
Anxiety TikTok Helped Me See My Intrusive Thoughts For What They Were
by Justine Feron
“I was out to dinner with some friends recently when one of them cast her eyes across the table and asked: “So, what TikTok are you on?” One by one, my friends took their turns revealing their algorithmic identities, but when it was my turn to pull out my phone, I demurred — I already knew what the app would say about me. Because while I see my fair share of slugging tutorials, home reno before-and-afters, and even the occasional Timothée Chalamet supercut, there’s one kind of content I’m served more than anything else: videos about intrusive thoughts, otherwise known as out-of-the-blue, day-ruining worries about the terrible things that could happen to your children. In other words, I’m on anxious mom TikTok.
Strong Enough to Withstand the Loss
by Eileen Vorbach Collins
“I whispered to the violet what a friend’s father, in his misguided attempt to offer comfort, had said to me. I laughed at the memory—the shock of those words. “You’re young. You can have more children.”
Post Pandemic and Pushing 60, My Old Immigrant Narrative No Longer Works
by Áine Greaney
“In my earliest memory, I’m skittering around the kitchen in our little thatch-roof farmhouse in County Mayo, Ireland. It’s the same house from which, in the early 1900s, most of my grandmother’s family had emigrated to the United States. Then, a generation later, my two uncles left that house to join the post-Second World War mass migration to 1950s England…On this memorable day, I’m about three-and-a-half years old and my mother is cross with me. My two brothers are teasing me. The house is ready, and the table is set because any minute now, my great-aunt Minnie will arrive from New York.”
By Sarah Grimes
“After my dad falls down the hill and into the road at sunset and is nearly hit by a speeding car, it takes him fifteen minutes to limp back up to the house. I hear him call my name from the kitchen in a strange, fierce tone I have never heard before. I drop the sweater I am packing away into a box and fly down the stairs. There he is at his usual spot at the table, slumped over the antique Windsor chair. The blood is already rising to the surface: knees, hands, an elbow, a shoulder. ”
The Hunched One
by Zenas Ubere
"I woke with my left hand hung in the air, heavy with a cast. A rope belted it to a pole beside my bed. Streams of pain swam like blood flow through the hand. From outside, darkness peered in through the closed windows, and above me, filament bulbs burned, throwing yellow shades onto the leaf-colored walls of the room. A sigh of agony escaped from me, and my mother, as if she had been waiting for that moment, appeared at my side. It was some minutes past eleven on the clock behind her. I felt her warm palm’s weight on my forehead. I saw her fair face smile and I felt relief."
The #Midwessay: Sarah Cords, You Can't Go Home Again
by Sarah Cords
“Before her mind started to fail, my mother knew that I wrote things. She didn’t really know what I wrote or who I wrote it for, and the number of times she has looked at the Internet in her entire life could be counted on one hand. I come from people who grew food and milked cows. They don’t know what to do with job titles like content creator' or 'essayist.' I don’t really, either. But I was really bad at growing food and I’m afraid of cows. Is it my fault that I prefer to work the stubborn soil of my endless unbidden thoughts, to try and coax forth sustenance in the form of words?”
📢 Attention Publications and writers interested in having published essays considered for inclusion in our weekly curation:
By Thursday of each week, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org:
The title of the essay and a link to it.
The name of the author, and the author’s Twitter handle.
A paragraph or a few lines from the piece that will most entice readers.
Because of data limits for many email platforms, going forward we will only include artwork from our partner publications. No need to send art.
*Please be advised, however, that we cannot accept all submissions, nor respond to the overwhelming number of emails received. Also, please note that we don’t accept author submissions from our partner publications.
You can also support Memoir Monday—and indie bookstores!—by browsing this Bookshop.org list of every book that’s been featured at the Memoir Monday reading series. It’s a great place to find some new titles to add to your TBR list!
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