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There's No Such Thing As Too Many Essays to Read
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.
In addition to the weekly curation, there are now occasional original personal essays under the heading of First Person Singular, for paying subscribers. If you haven’t become a paid subscriber, please consider becoming one.
The third original essay, published in the First Person Singular series, is What Water Taught Me About My Irrational Fears, by Flávia Monteiro. The fourth original essay is coming in mid-June.
Essays from partner publications…
A Disassembled Room
by M.D. McIntyre
“But I also think people with clean cars are serial killers. I think people who live with empty walls are sociopaths. I want to be surrounded by things that remind me of living, even if many of those things came from people who are dead.”
Malali and Me
by Aliyeh Ataei, translated from the Persian by Salar Abdoh
“Motherland, homeland, vatan — these were all empty words that lost even more meaning in this pathetic café in the center of Kabul, with its caricatured photographs of war and Malali’s perfect notebook of wishful ideas on powerful women. Motherland was something without content or form, something utterly abstract — something that, in relation to a country like this, could only occupy the minds of those who’d never had it.”
Visiting My Feminist Foremothers in a Mostly Inaccessible City
by Victoria Reynolds Farmer
"I was thinking about Woolf’s invisible stories one morning when we were on our way to tour the Victoria and Albert Museum. We could not get on the first bus that stopped for us because each bus had room for only one wheelchair-using passenger at a time. ... I was used to viewing Woolf as an ally against the oppressive norm. In that moment, though, I felt unmoored. The boisterous, noisy norm she described literally didn’t have room for me. I was between the links of the chain—walking alone, but neither walking nor alone. Greatest rest didn’t enter into the equation at all.”
Buying a Starter Home at the End of the World
by Beth Boyle Machlan
"I’d lived in nineteen rental houses and apartments, packed and unpacked everything I owned nineteen times. My adult life felt like a series of personal and professional compromises stemming from some essential, unforgivable mistake that I could neither pinpoint nor escape. It was too late for a starter home. I just wanted to stop."
Patti Smith Only Cares About Doing the Work
by Caryn Rose
“Obviously, I don’t know what these men were thinking, but given that they wrote articles in major publications where they freely discussed the subject’s body parts, I feel equally free to pontificate as to their motivation (as well as roundly mock them). As a teenager, though, reading that kind of coverage in the rock press made me wince uncomfortably on her behalf, as well as make me confused about my own boobs and how I was supposed to feel about them.”
Essays from around the web…
My Story Went Viral: What I Wish I’d Known First
by Diane Forman
“I never imagined that my personal story would go viral, and that thousands of strangers would assault my character and call me names for writing a piece I believed was honest, loving and hopeful.”
by Erin Langner
“Whenever we went out, it felt like we were crafting uneventful nights into momentous outings. We drove two towns over to sit in the creaking leather seats of the Glen Art movie theater. We strolled the aisles of the Whole Foods after sunset to admire the patterns of the perfectly stacked produce. And after everything else closed, we would shut down the Bakers Square with coffees and cokes and matching key lime pie slices. But maybe it was our own absence of parents that really brought us together; my mother dead since I was nine years old, Jill adopted from Korea when she was an infant. And, we were living in Naperville, which felt like the tidiest suburb of all in that moment; divorces were down, standard two-parent households were the norm and anything that deviated wasn’t really talked about.”
Unpredictable and Inevitable
by Dian Parker
"Life is constantly in flux, like molecules and plagues, war and creativity. Trying to keep up, like reading all the classics or writing down all my ideas, is nearly impossible when everything comes to an end."
My Encounters With a Trapped Coyote
by Nikki Kolb
“It was a pleasant hike through the high desert until I glanced into the dead eyes of an emaciated coyote splayed beneath the low branches of a piñon pine. My husband, dog, and I were out enjoying a warm spring day, wandering the back acres of Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary’s property in northwestern New Mexico where we lived and worked for the betterment of seventy canids rescued from the exotic pet trade. The carcass was only a five-minute walk from home.”
Breaking Up With Jane
by Mariam Sule
“There’s something holy about smoking. Rolling yourself a joint. Lighting it up. Sucking in smoke. Holding it in for as long as you can. Letting it swim from your mouth, through your lungs to your belly. Then exhaling.”
Memoir Monday editor Sari Botton’s memoir in essays, And You May Find Yourself, will be published next Tuesday, 6/14!
Please consider ordering the book—through Bookshop, or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound, through your independent bookseller! You can also order a signed copy from Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston (to pick up or have mailed to you!).
June 13th, 8pm Franklin Park Reading Series in Crown Heights, Brooklyn
📢 Attention Publications and writers interested in having published essays considered for inclusion in our weekly curation:
By Thursday of each week, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org:
The title of the essay and a link to it.
The name of the author, and 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.
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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