New essay in River Teeth

We were early birds, bad girls, schemers, druggies. Aria and I only attended high school as freshmen; after that, we were independent study kids. While Analy High’s class of ’96 amassed memories to chronicle in yearbooks, we skulked around our small California town, smoking weed and later meth, hitchhiking, getting fucked up with grown men.…

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“Finding El Saez” receives Honorable Mentions in Best American Essays 2018 and Best American Travel Writing 2018

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…

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Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California

I’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/

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“Snakebit” in The Threepenny Review

We 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…

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Sunday feature in The New York Times

On Thursday at noon, I ditch the San Francisco courthouse where I work as a Spanish interpreter and high-tail it home to swap my conservative suit for breeches and dusty paddock boots. I arm myself with allergy pills, nasal spray and a puff from an asthma inhaler. Patches on my windbreaker and baseball cap identify…

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“Turpentine” in Covered w/ Fur

This cat Fritzel was odd. She wasn’t pretty like Angel or Bon Bon, and she wasn’t smart either. Just one of those weird, piebald cats with personality issues. Maybe I didn’t like this cat so much. But once you have a cat, you keep it until it dies. When Fritzel was a kitten, she charged…

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My Mother the Ganja Dealer

Narratively – Outsiders Week – December 31, 2014 “MAIL CONTAINS DRUG, YOUNG WOMEN SEIZED” reads an August 22, 1969 headline in the Milwaukee Journal. Below, in grainy black and white, floats Meridy Domnitz’s mug shot. At twenty, my mother looks more pathetic than criminal. Her frizzy hair has gone renegade from a sideways ponytail and…

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Essay in Tin House – Winter 2014

I’m thrilled to have an essay in the gorgeous “Winter Reading” issue of Tin House,  the sharpest journal in the west. This issue includes new work by the legendary  Ursula K. Le Guin, Joy Williams, and Josh Weil, among other fine writers. I could  not be more pleased. I encourage you to pick up Tin House at your…

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THE SUNDAY RUMPUS ESSAY: PROCESSING CHILDREN

My essay about children in immigration court is live this morning, featuring original illustrations by artist Chris Koehler. BY ALIA VOLZ October 19th, 2014 The courtroom smells of talcum powder. On this afternoon’s docket, we have thirty-four children. Thirty-four out of 35,000 or 57,000 or 90,000 kids who have crossed our borders without permission since…

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Before You Were Born: Stories from our parents’ surprisingly romantic youth. This week: two free spirits exchange psychic readings in ’70s San Francisco.

Nerve.com, December 3, 2010 By Alia Volz My parents, Doug and Mer, exchanged psychic readings on a blind date. Though they’ve since divorced, I recently reunited them to ask about their unusual romance. I would like you, my beloved parents, to take a trip back in time. It is now January of 1977 — D:…

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