Nine New Personal Essays to Read This Week...
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. Beginning in January, 2022, there’ll occasionally be original work as well—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!
✨ For those of you attending the 2022 edition of the AWP conference in Philadlephia, mark your calendars for the AWP edition of Memoir Monday, to be held on Wednesday, March 23rd! Check back here for more information as it develops… ✨
by Rebecca Flowers
"Sharks bring me peace when nothing else does. When a whirlwind of anxieties creeps up on me, thinking about sharks lulls me to sleep and helps banish my fears. Day to day, I carry them with me as emblems: carved on necklaces, embroidered on my socks, and stuck to the back of my laptop. Sharks are quiet and shy, fearsome and odd. They are something like me."
On Mistaking Whales
by Bathsheba Demuth
"In Provideniya that evening, I cook the whale and eat it with dark sweet bread. It tastes like mild venison, with a slight edge of sea. From the window in the kitchen, I look down the hill, through apartments and administrative buildings, to the bay below. Other than a few dark ripples cast by seals, the water is so calm I am looking down onto my building and the whole town twinned on its surface, the reflection shuddering only slightly to indicate the version that is not land.”
by Karine Hack
"Grandma has met M multiple times, exclaiming, You’re so tall! How tall are you? My, oh my, so tall. And a pilot? An engineer? There can’t be many women that do that. Good for you. My oh my. Bless you. She seems to like her, or at least that’s how I’ve always interpreted her My oh mys. But who can be sure. We’ve always introduced M as a friend. Though mostly I evade introductions."
I Donated My Stuttering Brain to Science
by Sophia Stewart
"Taking place inside my head were processes that no one on earth fully understood. And if I was going to share something so valuable, I was glad that I could share it with the clinician-scientist, with another person who stutters, whose scientific interest in disfluency was rooted in firsthand experience. His aims were descriptive, not prescriptive—he was trying to understand the disfluent brain, not just fix it. I tensed at the thought of entrusting my brain with researchers who would be approaching disfluency from the outside; it’s one thing to wonder how stuttering works—it’s quite another to know how it feels."
I Want to Persuade You to Care About Other People
by Danielle Tcholakian
"Another thing I love about my grandfather is how he’s open-minded in a way that’s unusual among men of his generation…He is not a rabble rouser. But he has always been tickled by the rabble rouser in me, always willing to hear my liberal side out." (Reprinted from Longreads. Originally published in August, 2017.)
by Irina Dumitrescu
"The professor is famous, a genius, or what counts for one in our corner of the world. Everyone knows that his letters open doors to the best PhD programs. I make sure never to ask him for a reference letter. I can’t say why yet, but even then I know. I don’t want to owe him.”
On Giving Dance One More Chance
by Ofelia Brooks
"I learned at that college party how Black people were supposed to dance. We were to grind, freak, twerk, wine. Mimic sex with our clothes on, on the beat. I didn’t know how to dance like that, no one had ever showed me. My older sisters and aunts, even though Caribbean and fans of hip-shaking soca music, never danced like that. My mother definitely never danced like that, even as soca classics like ‘Nani Wine’ played throughout the house and instructed us to ‘wine down low, wine down so.’”
Something For the Pain
by Emily Maloney
"I found myself standing in line for the exhibitors/industry people rather than the attendee line for registration, where I belonged. Before I left the medical profession to write full-time, and after my stint in the ER, I worked for a multinational pharmaceutical company, attending conferences like this one. At the companies where I worked, I’d manage the display of data in poster sessions."
The Britishisms That Saved Me As A Brand-New, Expat Mother
By Amelia Granger
“Back passage is not a term we use in American English, my native language, so I wasn’t familiar with it. But the doctor had explained that the baby was stuck behind my pubic bone, and based on the fact that the incision he wanted to make would be in my perineum, I understood what he meant from context. That was a relief, because I liked to try to figure out what British English words meant for myself. I didn’t like to admit I didn’t understand. Maybe I should back up a little. As soon as I landed in London, four months prior, five months pregnant with my first child, I started to learn a new vocabulary.”
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