Nine Signs You Have a Bad Doctor: What I Wish I’d Known

As my husband and I learned this February, having a bad doctor can be deadly. First, before we get in too deep, I just want to acknowledge that no doctor is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and tragically, even a mistake made in good faith, with the best medical practice, can still result in death. SomeContinue reading “Nine Signs You Have a Bad Doctor: What I Wish I’d Known”

How to Take a Critique

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of whining on Twitter from authors. Someone left a bad review of their book on Amazon. Or someone gave a 4-star review but meant 3.5 stars. Or someone just didn’t get it. These authors receive unfavorable critiques as if they were personal insults or the equivalent of systemic injustices.Continue reading “How to Take a Critique”

The Gentleness of Contentment

It tiptoes in so lightly you hardly notice it. Not if you’re accustomed to gyrating mosh pits and rock stars screaming into sound systems that boom through stadiums. Not even if you’ve simply learned to read a paperback novel over friends shouting about Jane’s breakup across city streets or have learned to carry on conversationsContinue reading “The Gentleness of Contentment”

How Rage Is Shutting Down American Politics

As a high school and college student, I aspired to change the world. I binge-watched The West Wing before binge-watching was a thing. I talked with friends about becoming a lobbyist and engaged in passionate debates about American and global politics. I idolized the Supreme Court and read its decisions with finger-tingling excitement. I evenContinue reading “How Rage Is Shutting Down American Politics”

Trust the Not-Knowing

Because sometimes the honest place is the empty place. The place of uncertainty. I’ve been talking a lot with my brother lately–this skinny white guy from a West Coast suburb who now works as an engineer on the East Coast. We’ve been talking about privilege, race, gender, social class, and orientation. I love my brother. AndContinue reading “Trust the Not-Knowing”

Listening as Discovery

On any given day, the writing center where I work exudes a cacophony of smells: there is curry–both African and Indian, the honey-musk of perfume, chalky talcum, roasted coffee, rain-steeped leather, and–on occasion–the rank sweat, aged and thick, of students who have not yet learned to wear deodorant in the U.S. To imagine I knowContinue reading “Listening as Discovery”

Truth Will Out: Stop Silencing and Start Talking

When I was 25 years old, I opened a conversation with my parents about the past. Or tried to. I asked my parents some difficult questions. I wanted to hear their own experience of our family history. I wanted to rip off the blood-crusted bandages, so we could all begin to heal. My family had operatedContinue reading “Truth Will Out: Stop Silencing and Start Talking”

Beautiful Boys

Today at the college, a freshman hunched over the form I handed him, checking off boxes. Male. Under 25. Native language Mongolian. He shouldn’t have had to fill it out again. The writing center where I work had misplaced his file, and the young man was understandably frustrated. But this wasn’t your average freshman sulk.Continue reading “Beautiful Boys”