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I don’t mean to co-opt his story. Then again, no story — even if its cast is a single character — can be told without rubbing up against someone else’s story. Indeed, even when there is only one character in a narrative, the way that person behaves, the choices he...

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Halloween Thoughts

There is one holiday, and one holiday only, that I truly enjoy: Halloween. When I announce this to others, reactions vary. Some are confused — “Whaddya mean you don’t love Thanksgiving? How can you not melt into Christmas?” Others are interested, hoping for a psychological reveal — “Oh, yea? And...

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casbah 3

Phonology and Flirtation

Phonology: an inventory of sounds and their features; rules specifying how sounds interact with each other. Flirtation: a short period of casual experimentation with or interest in a particular idea or activity. Phlirtology: a short period of inventorying how strangers interact with each other. *** Still sweating from my bike ride across campus,...

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Burned Nipples

“Do you smell something?” my employer wrinkled his nose and looked around the house suspiciously as he set down his briefcase. He was a doctor, as was his wife. I was the nanny. It was the summer of 1987. Whitney Houston wanted to dance with somebody, a gallon of gas...

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Turning Ten 4

Turning Ten

Ten years ago this week, I posted for the first time to this blog. Ten years. That’s like high school plus college plus graduate school. It was the start of a new semester, and I’d had the revolutionary idea to ask one of my composition classes to try out this new...

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Composition 2

The First Day of the Semester: Hour by Hour

The 8 a.m. hour: Rumpled and wild, the bedding reflects the quality of my nervous sleep. Even with relying on my new-found friend, melatonin, I woke throughout the night. By 4 a.m., I rolled around fitfully, the veil of sleep resting lightly upon me, my blood running cold with First...

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Bagley Tree 4

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

In a few days, the new academic year begins. Since I’ve not quite recovered from the stresses of the summer session, and since my fall teaching schedule recently underwent an adjustment (one section cancelled, another added), I’m a bit breathless. No matter. Whether or not I’m ready, it’ll happen anyways....

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His rage was immediate. “God damn it! You could have killed me! Why weren’t you looking? You God damn just about hit me!” Panting, fueled by adrenaline, the middle-aged man glared at me, outraged, itching to transfer his upset, ready to spit more invective as soon as I engaged. He was shaking;...

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Tender Toddler Tending

Even before he came out after school, even before he got into the car, I knew he’d be crabby. He’s always crabby when he’s nervous. Often, he swings through a few pit stops  — quick pullovers at “I’m so tired” and “I’m really hungry” — before parking at the real destination: the...

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I wrote this more than a year ago. I am re-running it. The world is too awful. It was a glorious spring day, the hard edges of the air softening into mildness, the sun reflecting in puddles, spirits sitting up and stretching their arms to the sky. Awaking from the...

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