Showing posts from August, 2014

open letter to emily rapp

Dear Emily , When I was going through some dark times a few years ago, I read a couple of your essays about slowly losing your son Ronan to Tay-Sachs online. At the time, when I was grieving the loss of much-wanted, miscarried twins, I devoured your writing greedily and gratefully. My experience was one part catharsis, one part relief that It could always be worse. I couldn’t hear such statements from my caring but baffled friends who didn’t get why something as common as a miscarriage should flatten my identity and shatter my sense of safety in the world. But I could hear it from someone who was living out everyone’s worst nightmare. When I picked up your book in Vroman’s last weekend, I paused. Would reading it—as I’d wanted to since it came out—be indulging a kind of grief porn? It could always be worse. Would it ward off the evil spirits I still feared surrounded my fate, or would it invite them in? Since my 2011 miscarriage, I’ve had the time and opportunity to ask ne

historical reconstructions

1. is gratitude porn a genre? The other day while driving home, listening to Fresh Air , I decided that The Knick was my new favorite show. Dave Davies was interviewing the creators and a medical historian who’d served as a consultant on the show. I can’t imagine that there are a lot of job openings in the field of medical historian, but I kind of want to be one. If my other career as the person who names nail polish colors doesn’t work out. Medical theater. Apparently the show is set in one of my favorite eras (New York at the turn of the last century, a.k.a. Newsies times) and centers on one of my favorite topics (the weird, dark, earnest trial and error that needed to happen so that I could live to get fake nipples—more on that in a minute). The creators pointed out that the surgeons of the time were seen as gods because they were the main reason people were starting to live past their mid-forties. As gods, they were allowed to poke and prod patients in front of a t

after a while you switch to low fat

1. friend(s) vibe There’s an episode of Friends where Chandler breaks up with someone—maybe Janice, maybe not for the first time?—and drowns his sorrows with Monica and Rachel. They teach him feminine heartbreak rituals, handing him a tub of chocolate ice cream and a spoon. “This doesn’t taste very good,” he says. Monica shrugs, resigned: “After a while you switch to low fat.” The low fat nineties. I remember the first date—or date-type thing—I went on after B and I broke up, with an androgynous Ivy League hipster screenwriter I’d met on MySpace. She was witty and sarcastic but nice, and had a great asymmetrical haircut. Her mom had died young. Her dad’s family was among the rich white people who fled Cuba after the revolution, which gave her an intriguing air of both privilege and oppression. When, after two ambiguous date-type things, I confessed that I liked her, she called me up and told me she’d gotten more of a “friend vibe” from me. It would have been a