Make Time for These 10 Stellar 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.
The sixth original essay, published in First Person Singular in late July, is “Strange Heirloom,” by Elizabeth Roper Marcus. The seventh original essay is coming in late August. Submissions are open. You can find submissions guidelines and more on the “About” page.
Essays from partner publications…
Pop Culture’s Problem with Middle-Aged Women
by Lisa Whittington-Hill
“It would seem, then, that things are changing. But ageism operates in more insidious ways. Though representation has improved, pop culture still has a problem with middle-aged women—something I discovered when, in an attempt to avoid my midlife crisis, I decided to look more closely at this fraught relationship. They are still largely invisible and left out of the narrative or are depicted as wives and moms who are not worthy of their own story lines.”
Return to San Sebastian: Novel Research As Road Trip in Puerto Rico
by Leah Franqui
“I had hoped I would connect to something on this trip, to feel something. I had hoped I would find some piece of myself in the place my family is from. But San Sebastian is just a small town in Puerto Rico, a place like any other, and I was fanciful to think some magic would happen here, some light would shine in my father’s eye, and he would be some other version of himself, unlock some door. But my father didn’t become something else as we drove, and walked, and looked around the graves of strangers. He just him, sitting on a grave and having a cigarette as I walk alone in a cemetery trying to make meaning. ”
Gen X Prep: An Excerpt of “Kids in America”
by Liz Prato
“We were born while young men dying in faraway jungles and young people dying in nearby demonstrations and our president betraying democracy were shown on nightly TV. We were born into the hope of the moon landing and into the despair of the murders of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy. We bounced around in the backs of station wagons without seatbelts and rode bikes without helmets. We had telephones before answering machines, and TVs before VCRs, and Dewey Decimal before Wikipedia. We watched a lot of TV.”
Finding Forgiveness in Co-Parenting
by Liz Declan
“In March of 2022, I had the best week of my life with an unexpected crew. After planning for months, my seven-year-old daughter, my ex-husband, my ex-husband’s girlfriend, and I headed to Disney World. We stayed in separate Airbnbs but flew down together, doing the first three days as a group (the last day reserved for my daughter and me)…I had spent very little time with my ex-husband’s girlfriend during the years they’d been together, but I had always thought she was a lovely person and, from all I had heard, a wonderful stepparent to my child.”
Letters from Ukraine
“Dnipro, on the banks of the Dnipro River, was not initially a target although it has been hit several times since. We stayed at the Menorah Hotel in the Jewish Centre. As Putin claimed to be ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine, we thought it would be a bit of an own goal if it was hit by a rocket. They also served very good cheesecake. The only disadvantage was that to test the air-raid alarm system, which involved VERY LOUD announcements through speakers in every room, they played ‘Guantanamera’ on a loop.”
“It’s that time between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., in that strange, lulling space between dinner and breakfast. You’re filled with desire to hold onto a day that’s already passed, but not yet finished. You text a friend: “awake? hungry? can pick me?” Just a bite of something before you can go to sleep. You need food, you need people. So you eat.”
Essays from around the web…
Come Up With Something New: On Manuscripts, Mothering, and Writing the Book You Have to Write
by Anne Zimmerman
“Five years ago, my literary agent called to tell me that the manuscript of the memoir I was writing had been rejected. ‘Stop working on your little postpartum project,’ he suggested, ‘and come up with something new.’”
Chanel, Marge Simpson & Me
by Mieke Marple
“It’s strange to shun wholesomeness on your wedding day. Most brides dress in white for precisely this reason. Virginal, traditional, wholesome: these were not qualities I sought out. For years, my wedding fantasy had been to meet someone slightly wild and definitely alpha. Overcome by magnetism, we’d marry in Vegas the next day and spend our wedding night in a penthouse having mind-numbing sex, carving each other’s names into the other persons’ back with knives. Matching tattoos wouldn’t be enough. That fantasy, among others, is why—for the past five years—I’ve been in a 12-step program for sex and love addiction.”
by Sandy Silverman
“A few months later, Evelyn arrived for an appointment carrying the New York Post. She had a cold sore on her mouth and looked exhausted from the four-block walk to the agency. She sat down and handed me the newspaper. Rock Hudson was on the cover, emaciated and barely recognizable… ‘He has what I have,’ Evelyn said. Evelyn was poor and Latina and lived in the projects. A movie star had the same disease as her. ”
Joni Mitchell Left and Then She Came Back
by Ramona Grigg
“It’s the Newport Folk Festival, July, 2022. After nine years away from the spotlight and an astonishing 53 years after the last time she performed at the Festival, Joni Mitchell, in a surprise appearance, is back on their stage. She’s singing ‘Both Sides Now’, her signature piece, a grueling song not for the faint of heart, but she wrote it, after all, and it’s expected. She begins to sing, unsure and halting at first, as if this might not be a good idea.”
Memoir Monday founder Lilly Dancyger is offering some workshops you won’t want to miss!
Mark your Calendars for Monday August 8th at 7pm EST!
The quarterly Memoir Monday Reading Series, hosted by, Memoir Monday founder Lilly Dancyger, will return to Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, featuring Edgar Gomez, Maud Newton, Chloeé Cooper Jones, Tajja Isen, and Sari Botton. RSVP…
📢 Attention Publications and writers interested in having published essays considered for inclusion in our weekly curation:
By Thursday of each week, please send to email@example.com:
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.
Memoir Monday is a reader-supported publication that pays contributors to its First Person Singular series of original essays. To support this work, become a paid subscriber.
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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