“[T]his is just one more way the system is always working against poor people: We are told we must pay thousands of dollars to be allowed the privilege of appearing financially secure or well-off, as though the honor of that appearance should be enough. As though the money we spend on straightening our teeth is simply the penance we owe the world for being poor.”
This month's Student Spotlight: 20 Questions with Catapult workshop alum Quentin Greif!
Forrest Leo on the legacy of his literary mentor, Frank M. Robinson, who once told him: “Forrest, you ought to finish something . . . I love you, you've got talent, but the only thing that really counts is the completed whatever.”
An important essay by Shani Gilchrist about how her parents and elders taught her to share stories of resistance and survival in the face of racism:
The people sharing their stories before the fireplace in my parents’ living room hadn’t only survived that era of persecution—they’d created their own successes, carved some joy and fun out of their lives, in spite of it. Of course, not all the memories—the beatings, the lynchings, the massacres—could be soothed with a salve of defiant humor. But their raucous and personal remembrance of a harrowing time seems specific to a certain generation of Black Americans, and for this reason, I’ve always had an inherent understanding of it as special.
Columnist Adrian Shirk on the history of Red Hook, “that dangling bit of coastline at the bottom of the borough, cut off by the freeway and left to rust.”
“[W]hen an investigative journalist revealed who Elena Ferrante probably really is, I felt betrayed. Not because she was no longer anonymous; I had never cared about that. But because she is not Elena. She did not grow up in Naples, speaking Neapolitan, with an Italian mother, and she did not escape. This is an irrational essay. ”
Steven Church wrote about how playing basketball transformed him into “a slapping, pushing, elbowing shit-talker”—and how he watches the game now that his playing days are behind him.
“Mazes have exits, and they are about escape. Labyrinths have centers, and they are about monsters”: Ana Maria Guay's haunting meditation on her life with OCD.
If not for online shopping, some of us would never buy any clothes at all:
I am granted a reprieve from nagging concerns of morality by the tactful anonymity of e-commerce, free to see what I want to see, which is a sundress that whispers of midnight garden trysts and fountain plashes, of crumbly cheeses and another bottle of red. The dress is what I want it to be, according to my day’s particular shade of emptiness. I am the sole audience, the sole interpreter, the sole protagonist.
Finally, we continue to see some wonderful work shared on our Community page —here are just a few recent stories our editors have read and greatly enjoyed:
Knowing Nancy , by Rosemary Sedgwick
Practicing Disappearing , by Ali Millar
God Bless You, Mr. Trout , by Kate Fustich
What I Would Tell My Daughter , by Katherine Robb
Thank you to all the authors who have shared their words with us, in our magazine and on our Community site — and thank you, as always, for reading.