TEN new personal essays! There are some new faces in Memoir Monday-ville 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. In the next few months, there’ll be original work as well—the more subscription money that’s raised, the more pieces we can consider, so if you haven’t become a paid subscriber, please consider becoming one!
by Irina Dumitrescu (Art by Carl Dimitri)
"In my essays, my father and mother and grandmothers speak English. I translate them so that I can tell my story, but every time I type a quotation mark, I know I’m preparing to lie. The rhythm of their speech is wrong; their wit, so cutting and ancient, loses its edge."
by Anne Barngrover (Photo by Vincentiu Solomon on Unsplash)
"What we wanted, alternately, was to take flight by prioritizing and appreciating wonder: in world-building, in music and language, in curiosity and not always knowing the right answer. In questions over answers. Who owns and defines the answers, after all?”
by Ruchir Joshi (Photographs © Ruchir Joshi)
"Hourglass. Calcutta is an hourglass and each person is a grain of sand. Each day, we all pour through the opening. Every morning, each of us begins to slide downwards. By night all of us have squeezed through to pile up below. The trajectory of the day is different for each of all 15 million of us, but at the end point we find ourselves in extremely close proximity to everyone else. Of course, some of us don’t make it to the other side. Every day several thousand grains just disintegrate in the crush and disappear, while many other thousands leak out, escaping the gravitational hug of the city to travel in different directions. As for the rest of us, we stay piled up on each other through the night, waiting for the morning to nudge us again and send us on our way."
Thoughts on Turning 60: February/Seattle
by Marcia Aldrich (Daffodil watercolor by novelist Marcy Dermansky)
"I couldn’t see myself getting old—I was perpetually frozen in youth and then after that I would die. I wouldn’t age gradually, go through all the stages of decline everyone talks about. I’d be young and then I’d be gone. Everything about my thinking was dramatic and immature. I never stayed anywhere long or in any relationship—I was always moving to the next thing, bailing, exiting. "
I Can't Go Home, So I Go to the Indian Grocery
by Purnima Mani (Photograph courtesy of the author)
"In the absence of a plane ticket to Chennai, the food of my heritage helps tether me to the land and people I miss most."
My Wife Of 51 Years Died. Here's What I Learned About Grief That I Never Knew Before.
by Richard Toth (Photo courtesy of the author)
"The average life expectancy after a glioblastoma multi diagnosis is about a year. Brenda was transferred to the palliative care unit of our local hospital. I spent time with her every day. I was, I thought, preparing myself for the inevitable. Wrong."
Mirrors Tell the Truth, but Not the Whole Story
by Stephanie Gangi (Photo by Inga Gezalian on Unsplash)
"Time passed, the parameters shifted. Love was indeed finite. My marriage ended and my little family reconstituted itself. We moved, with the mirror, to where we fit better with one less of us. That’s when I decided to paint its frame, give it a new look for my new life."
I Will Always Be Muslim and Jewish
by Dr. Tamara MC (Photograph courtesy of the author)
"When I was 5, my father converted from Judaism to Islam; he followed a Shaykh from Tucson to Texas and left my Jewish mom and me for a different religion. Four months of every year, I lived with him on a Sufi Shi’ate commune between Austin and San Antonio with 100 other members, five siblings, and a stepmother — all Muslims."
If Your Dreams Scare You
by Joni Tevis (Photo courtesy of the author)
"I can’t remember her name. I can’t remember whether we ever discussed that night. I don’t think we did, although there was plenty of time—during practice, in the stands, in the nice hotel rooms paid for by the booster club. I don’t remember any conversations with any of those people, the ones I thought would be my friends for life. For away games we rode charter buses for hours, staring out the greasy windows at fields of saw palmetto. Smell of diesel exhaust. Jacket fitted to the small of my back. Sometimes fans of the opposing teams cursed and screamed and pelted us with trash, but glass bottles had been banned from the stadiums not long before and this was why. Halfway through the season, the section leader ordered shirts for each of us with nicknames across the back. Because I never said anything, he named me ‘Holly Hobbie.’"
by Ashley Bethard
“The week my sibling died of a heroin-fentanyl overdose, I came back to the farm and noticed the curly willow was dead. I obsessed over it. It was an otherwise unremarkable feature of the landscape, but suddenly its absence was the only thing I saw. The gap between what once was and what was no more throbbed like a pulse, accompanied by spikes of adrenaline, shortness of breath. Symptoms my body would perfect in the weeks after their death and would hold on to for years.”
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!
If you received this email from a friend or found it on social media, sign up below to get Memoir Monday in your inbox every week! You can also follow us on Twitter at @memoirmonday.