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Start Your Week Off Right With These 10 Personal Essays...
Welcome to Memoir Monday—a weekly newsletter and a quarterly reading series, brought to you by Narratively, The Rumpus, Catapult, Granta, Guernica, Oldster Magazine, Literary Hub — and now many additional publications.
The eighth original essay, published in the First Person Singular series in September, is “Cooking With Dana For the Last Time” by Dianne Jacob. The ninth original essay is coming later in October. Submissions are open. You can find submissions guidelines and more on the “About” page.
Memoir Monday is a reader-supported publication that pays contributors to its First Person Singular original essay series. To support this work, become a paid subscriber.
Essays from partner publications…
If an American Cannot Speak Arabic
“I feel the burden of carrying the weight of other worlds in these pages. I see you drawing a caricature of yourself; I imagine you fashioning it in the shape of your worst fears; and I understand how hard it is to get the world right and then see it slip away in someone else’s self-assured opinion.”
What Woody Allen’s Manhattan Tells Us About Society’s Relationship with Powerful Men
by Erin Keane
“Of all the lies I once believed about my mother and father, the biggest was the one I told myself. For most of my life, I reveled in my origin story as a daughter of the grittier, downtown version of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, a movie I loved fiercely, perhaps because it too demanded a certain amount of self-deception…In 1972, my mother was fifteen years old—a beautiful runaway from a respected military family, living as an adult under a fake name in New York’s East Village—when she met my father at Googie’s, her favorite bar. They fell in love and married that year. He was a recovering heroin addict, sporadically employed and with a criminal past, a self-taught, bullshitting Renaissance man who drove a cab and wooed her with barstool poems. He was also the same age as her father.”
In This House We Believe
by Beth Boyle Machlan
“Maybe that’s it: I don’t believe. I don’t believe that owning a house should give me more say than someone who needs one. I don’t believe that signs are enough, because the claims of the house are empty without the actions of the people in them. I don’t believe that any of us are safe, really, from the disasters to come; I do believe that those of us with space to spare should share it.”
by Julie Metz
“I am in complete denial about aging…I joke about my denial with friends, but deep down, the existential facts of my life are not in question. I know how old I am. I know I will die, with any luck, of old age and with most of my faculties intact. I know I’m not fooling anyone else, but it still feels important to fool the self I see in the mirror every morning. In a culture that treats aging women with snarky derision and outright cruelty, I plan to indulge my vanity for as long as possible.”
Into the Body
by Annie Sand
“If my mother’s teachings looked up from the ground, the ones at school looked down from above. Maps showed blue lines for cold fronts above the Dakotas, red lines for tectonic plate boundaries in California, dashed lines for World War I battalions.”
Essays from Around the Web…
by Tan Tuck Ming
“These questions are used to gauge what a worker is able to do and what they are like, though it is the latter that I have more trouble with. After the interview, we are asked to sort workers into four broad psychological categories, arranged across an x-axis of passiveness and a y-axis of tenderness. These profiles are loosely abstracted from animal-based psychology. There is Lila, the lion, who is independent and likes a closer employment relationship; Hannah, the horse, who is independent and prefers a formal employment relationship; Bella, the bee, who is passive and also prefers distance; Daisy, the dog, who is passive and likes to be closer.”
by Wendy Mages
“The ER is busier than normal for a Thursday morning. Instead of being assigned to one of the more private glassed-in rooms, my mother is wheeled into a small treatment area with only curtains separating her from the next patient. The ER team takes her vitals while I try to explain her symptoms and recent medical history. They’re polite but, perhaps because I don’t have a medical degree, they seem to disregard much of what I say.”
My Babies Aren’t Babies Anymore
by Kate Lewis
“Outgrowing the need for cribs is only the latest of many lasts we’ve reached as our children march from infancy to childhood and onward. As their lives continue as a series of firsts—steps, words, days of school, loves—mine becomes defined by these lasts, so many of which are impossible to foresee. The last time my son asked to be picked up, or needed to hold my hand crossing the street. The last autumn we’ll all be at home together before school and friends and their lives carry them away. ”
Dear Mom: A Photo Essay
by Tatiana Gallardo
“For fifteen years, you have given abuela 24/7 care, attention, and adoration. Because of you, Abuela is still with us. Because of you, Abuela is still beaming. But for over fifteen years, her Alzheimer’s has kept you home. Her life is your life. This trip was long-awaited liberation. ‘What if we roadtripped across Spain after the family wedding in France?’ I had asked you. ‘We could eat our way across the lands of our Cuban ancestors?’”
A Letter to My Sister on Our Shared Birthday
by Judy Haveson
“As I celebrated this year, I thought about being born on your seventh birthday. I realized sharing the spotlight with a baby sister was not the highlight for you that year. I believe you enjoyed receiving your Charmin' Chatty Cathy doll more. I'll admit, through the years, I had moments of not wanting to share my birthday with you either. But you and I were blessed to have our birthday bond us forever. The memory of our last birthday party is so vivid. It was one of the toughest of my life, knowing it would be the last time you and I would celebrate our special day in person. I decided to give up my birthday so you could enjoy the day all to yourself.”
📢 Memoir Monday founder (and reading series host) is offering two courses:
📢 Video from Publicity 101 for Writers with veteran book publicist Lauren Cerand was sent out yesterday, as a perk for paid subscribers.
📢 Proposing & Editing Anthologies Workshop at Catapult, beginning 10/13
I’ll be leading my anthology editing workshop at Catapult once again. Only 12 spots. Sign up!
📢 Attention Publications and writers interested in having published essays considered for inclusion in our weekly curation:
By Thursday of each week, please send to memoi the author’s Twitter handle.
A paragraph or a few lines from the piece that will most entice readers.
Because of data limits for many email platforms, going forward we will only include artwork from our partner publications. No need to send art.
*Please be advised, however, that we cannot accept all submissions, nor respond to the overwhelming number of emails received. Also, please note that we don’t accept author submissions from our partner publications.
Memoir Monday is a reader-supported publication that pays contributors to its First Person Singular series of original essays. To support this work, become a paid subscriber.
You can also support Memoir Monday—and indie bookstores!—by browsing this Bookshop.org list of every book that’s been featured at the Memoir Monday reading series. It’s a great place to find some new titles to add to your TBR list!
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