Best American Essays 2017

20170825_171427I’m over the moon today. My essay “Snakebit,” originally published in The Threepenny Review, has been chosen for The Best American Essays 2017, edited by one of my personal heroes, Leslie Jamison. Another of my essays, “Chasing Arrows,” published in New England Review, also received an honorable mention. Holy guacamole, I’m double-dipping in BAE!

This is proof positive that a relatively new writer can still gain entrance to the walled city without calling in favors to the king. The anthology is due for general release next month and will be available at independent bookstores nationwide.

What an honor, what a thrill.

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“Finding El Saez” – Nowhere Magazine’s 2016 Travel Writing Contest Finalist

el saez image

We head west out of Havana in the early afternoon, my husband, Kevin, behind the wheel of our circa 1990 rented Geely sedan. The air feels like the inside of a mouth, and even though third gear sounds like an opera singer warming up and the stereo doesn’t work, we’re grateful for air conditioning. The highway winds through coastal Artemisa, a tranquil, verdant province of farmland and gleaming seascapes. Exquisite scenery. But I have an ulterior motive for returning.

I’ve come to settle an old debt.

Read the full essay in Nowhere Magazine.

[Lead Image: Aristos Iatrou]

Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California

GoldenState2017-paperbackI’m delighted to see my essay, “In Any Light, By Any Name,” originally published in Tin House, included in this gorgeous anthology of California prose released by Outpost19. Lisa Locascio edited this fine collection and I couldn’t be more pleased to be part of it. Available at independent bookstores throughout California and, of course, online. http://outpost19.com/California/

“Chasing Arrows” – now available online

nerHe came from Florida, though I forgot which part as soon as he said it. Definitely not Miami. His skin was a fierce pink and he wore a turquoise Marlins baseball cap on backwards, a loose-fitting tank top, and board shorts. Pudgy, thirty-something, and reeking of booze. Something about the guy I liked. He had a big drunk laugh and seemed unstable in a refreshing way.

– See more at: http://www.nereview.com/vol-37-no-1-2016/chasing-arrows/#sthash.8M6DZQrM.dpuf

Dig if You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince

 princeBirthday Suit

Don’t believe I was ever happy fiddling with dolls. Or skipping around the yard, tra-la. Adults invented the myth of the carefree childhood. As an only kid, I remember realizing—I must have been five or six—that no one would ever see who I truly was inside. Heartbreaking. Also, I remember hungering. Being so small and powerless, not even knowing what it was I wanted, just wanting, wanting.

Then I heard him.

Mom cranked it up while she painted. Her studio occupied the brightest room in the house. There were gobs of oil paint hardening on the braided rug, rags reeking of turpentine. Music so loud the windows shook. Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain. He moaned and screeched from Mom’s boombox, falsetto riding high over that funk. His hunger bottomless like mine.

Does six years old sound too young to feel lust? I tell you it’s not.

Read the full piece in Barrelhouse Magazine.

Download the free e-book anthology, Dig If You Will The Picture: Remembering Prince.

Snakebit

Essay published in The Threepenny Review, Spring 2016.
threepenny1We meet a fat diamondback five minutes down the trail. He is stretched across the path, dozing in the shade of a juniper bush. I’m an adult, so I want to act like one, but I’m crying so hard I can’t inhale and snot is dribbling into my mouth. It takes me twenty minutes to inch past the viper, while his tongue whips the air. After that, I search out a long, heavy stick to thump on the ground and jostle the creosote scrub before passing. My husband, Kevin, and our two friends are sympathetic, but my pace is agonizingly slow, and they drift ahead. I hear them chattering, always around the next bend, while blood bangs through my head like a Taiko drum.

Read the complete essay online in The Threepenny Review.