Hot Off the Presses, 11 New Personal Essays...
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.
*Soon, there’ll occasionally be original work as well, likely behind a paywall—the more subscription money that’s raised, the more original pieces we can publish. So, if you haven’t become a paid subscriber, please consider becoming one!
I’m working with the National Writers’ Union/Freelance Solidarity Project on creating a contributor-friendly contract. Once I have one, I’ll announce how to submit, although it will be a limited opportunity—one essay per month, to be called “Memoir Monthly.”
Get ready for the AWP off-site edition of Memoir Monday, hosted by founder Lilly Dancyger! It will be held Wednesday, March 23rd at 7pm, at Head House Books. You can RSVP to the event on Facebook.
Essays from partner publications…
California, Coming Home
by Meghan Daum
"The first time I moved to Los Angeles was almost exactly twenty years ago. I was 32. My earliest memories involve driving around with the thick, spiral-bound atlas known as the Thomas Guide perched on my lap at all times. For the first few years here, my baseline feeling was the feeling of being lost—and moreover of being wrong. "
Confronting the Old Boys’ Club at Everest Base Camp
by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
"I’m the only girl in the boys’ club and I’m late. The Adventure Consultants dining tent is hookah-lounge chic, a level of kitsch that at 18,000 feet looks like luxury if you squint. Bright bouquets of plastic ﬂowers hang from the structural poles holding up the tent, a trio of egg chairs are clustered around a cozy electric stove, and two rectangular dining tables are set with bright oilcloth coverings, all the chairs draped in a psychedelic purple fabric. The ﬁrst table is already ﬁlled with very manly, very white, mostly balding men, cracking jokes and hollering over each other. Given that I’ve spent most of my life being afraid of men, I’ve picked an odd sport. Elite mountaineering draws out the most primal machismo characters I’ve ever seen."
Studying the Antlion Taught Me How to Be Human
by Ambika Kamath
“Any living creature on this planet has an evolutionary history exactly as long as the evolutionary history of any other living creature, stretching billions of years between the moment when life began and right now. Those that are here are still here; it is almost tautologically simple to see that every one of them knows how to survive. I believed that by asking the right questions of the right organisms, and piecing together the answers as one would a puzzle, I would see a way to make it through my own life, this life that seemed otherwise impossibly fearful and alone.”
Voices on Addiction: The Neighbor
by Brett Ann Stanciu
“For so many years, I had woken every morning with immediate thoughts of alcohol: How much had I drunk the night before? How would I sneak more alcohol into our house, and how long could I continue living my life this way? But I had no rapid transformation where I was no longer ashamed of my addiction.”
The Hour of the Wolf
by Fatima Bhutto
“Coco’s due date came and went. She had mated twice but counting from the second time, she was still late. Her stomach never grew though she became sluggish and her energy sunk to nothing. Dogs, like humans, have morning sickness, throwing up yellow bile and suffering fluctuations in appetite. I clung to the fact that Coco had experienced both these things.
To Be Black and Restful on the Body of the Earth
By Amber Officer-Narvasa
“There are no grand proclamations here, no rigid spines. The figure in the tapestry could be galloping toward battle or racing their friends to the lake, but they are under no obligation to tell us which. Secrets are allowed here. My Black interior is allowed here. In the infinite space before the horse’s hooves meet the ground, our stubborn and inconsistent inner selves are tended to, given the queer gift of new shapes for the body, new imaginations of posture, lessons whispered in a world that never lets us stop moving.”
Essays from around the web…
First Love as Whiskey
By Mary Pembleton
“But I know that if, in some realm without prefrontal cortex, some place without consequence, we tipped, impetuous, back into love, under your broadened body I would still see you at 16-17-18-19-20, and too in the blue of your irises, the knob of wrist bone I used to touch lightly as your scrawny fingers held a cigarette, snaked up my skirt. Did you stop smoking? I’d whisper to you in bed. When Adam died, I thought about how it would feel if you went early too. Like a missed step. Like air when you’re expecting substance.”
Grieving in Translation
by Chris/tine Deng
"At the only available funeral home in the city, the lady on staff takes three days to respond. I send four follow-up emails. It’s May of 2020. The hospital loses my grandma's belongings. I put on my best English. I spend two weeks arguing with the Patient Care team. I ask for the names of everyone I speak to. I open up WeChat to tell my grandma's siblings that she is dead. They send crying emojis to our group chat."
Art and the Psyche
by Dian Parker
"Swooning while seeing great works of art is not uncommon. There is even a name for it: "Stendhal Syndrome." Apparently, this was why I had fainted seeing the David.”
by Anna Baker Smith
“About once a year I dreamed that I was in Madison, Wisconsin, on my way to get a croissant at the Ovens of Brittany Bakery.”
Oh, The Places You'll Go (How Teaching Gets in Your Blood)
by Karen Zey
“I sign up for workshops delivered by those who deserve the title “expert.” Cram my cubicle bookshelf with volumes of their knowledge. And rely on remembering—how it felt, the small insights gained—when a student in my classroom made my throat tighten with panic, grow raw with frustration, or catch in joyous surprise.”
📢 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.
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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