Columns

How the Literature of Empire Shaped My View of the Natural World

It took me years before I realized that I’d built my notions of beauty from the stories of a distant land.

Apr 02, 2020
Sheltering in Place in My Backyard Garden

This period of social isolation is, I’ve told my child, an act of love for others. We are, whether we want to admit it or not, part of a herd.

Mar 26, 2020
Autocorrect Is Not Your Mother

Though tech assists so much of our daily communication, it’s not omniscient. Nor is it any kind of authority in our lives.

Searching for Family History in My Grandmother’s Embroidery

Together, the photograph and the needlework clearly told a story, one beyond any we knew.

Mar 17, 2020
The Hands That Haunt Us: When Did Disability Become Consent?

You will remember, in fact, the first doctor who does ask, who says ‘is it okay if I put my hands here,’ gesturing, waiting for you to say ‘yes.’

Mar 17, 2020
It’s a Boy! Whatever That Means

On bad advice books and gender nonsense.

The Curious Language of Grief

I don’t think I cried over his death for a long time. I wondered if something was wrong with me. I hadn’t realized that we have to learn how to cry.

Mar 11, 2020
How Meditation Helped Me Feel More Comfortable in My Body

How sad that I couldn’t regard myself with more kindness before, but how necessary it felt now that I was in constant pain.

Mar 09, 2020
On Martha and the Harm in “Perfect” Womanhood

In the etiquette class, everything had a proper place and use—even me.

Mar 05, 2020
Boy, You’re a Runner Now

It was the first time I’d ever pointed at myself and claimed “boy,” even jokingly.

Mar 03, 2020
Carving Out a Vietnamese Identity in the New South

For Asians in the South and everywhere, there is still narrative scarcity.

Mar 02, 2020
Women of Color in Academia Often Work Harder for Less Respect

The racist assumption that women of color are hired as faculty because of our identities rather than our credentials can have a serious impact on our careers.

Feb 26, 2020
How Easy Is That?: Chasing Ina Garten’s Perfection With My Mother

On other cooking shows, the cooks might make mistakes and laugh about them. Ina Garten has never made a mistake.

Feb 25, 2020
The Faint Spirits: On Ghosts, Grief, and Motherhood

I do not have flesh; I only have ghosts. In this story, the dead are only what I say they are. Does this make them less real?

Feb 20, 2020
My Grandfather and the Fukien Tea Tree: A Botanical History

I added it to the list of things off-limits: questions about the past, the wars, why my grandparents had fled China for Taiwan. Why eventually they left that place too.

Feb 19, 2020
Learning to Live in France With(out) The Nose Wrinkle

My relationship with my French teachers became more like the ones I had with my therapists: I desperately wanted them to like me.

Feb 19, 2020
Why My Father Could Not Embrace His Name

From his youth until late in life he was able to “pass,” his heritage all but invisible until he mentioned his name.

Feb 18, 2020
There Are Things No One Can Tell You About How to Live

I had a sense, unvoiced, that living well and loving steadfastly were one and the same. I translated that sense into certainty: Marriage would make me Good.

The Wildness of Maurice Sendak

Just as Sendak inverts a stereotypical association of white with youthful ingenuousness, Max inverts the expectations of many a children’s morality tale, for he is allowed to be wild.

Feb 12, 2020