The Great Escape
“We were not a family for boundaries. When I was a child, she told me sex was something beautiful and full of love, between adults. She wanted me to know the names for all my parts and how to keep them ventilated. (My vagina, she explained, was a glory organ—befurred; autonomous; self-cleaning, like an oven.) I grew to womanhood with a hearty view of sex, albeit more in theory than in practice.”
Read online at O Magazine, or in the May issue. (Part of the “To Her With Love” feature on mothers and daughters.)
On Prenatal Impostor Syndrome
“They say we first exist in our grandmothers, as an ovum in our fetal moms. I want no part of that grandmother’s womb, or its issue. My only mother was the one who legally adopted me when I was 16. In her care, I renounced all claims to my biology. I did what she did. My mother bond is made of mimicry. I have no context for mysticism of blood connection. But I need to resurrect the link.”
Read online at O Magazine, or in the December issue.
"Ode to Grey"
"It is the color of soldiers and battleships, despite its dullness. It is the color of the death of trees. The death of all life, when consumed by fire. The color of industry and uniformity. It is both artless and unsettling, heralding both blandness and doom. It brings bad weather, augurs bleakness. It is the color other colors fade to, once drained of themselves. It is the color of old age."
Read online at The Paris Review Daily.
Or en francais(!), courtesy of Kimamori Presse.
"Dancing Tango With Trump Voters"
"Perhaps what surprised me most about suburban tango was its deafening indifference. At a time when Americans were said to be incapable of crossing party lines, when immigrants were demonized, when bigotry was running rife, there was no trace of this on Thursday nights. Whatever unrest raged across the country, or even down the road, it wasn’t raging here..."
Read online at the New York Times.
"Eventually, I Had to Lead: On Learning the Dance (and Writing the Book) That Scared Me"
"Tango is not a thing that can be done halfway. Neither, I learned, is memoir. You’re either all in, or you’re dishonest..."
Read online at Catapult.
"A Dance of Her Own"
"When I tell people that I dance tango, they picture the sexy leg-linked postcard pose—with my face on the body of the sequined femme fatale. I often lack the heart to set them straight and tell them that, because of injuries as well as feminist contrariness, I wear baggy pants and dance sneakers that make my feet resemble rubber dinghies. Or how I dance in brightly lit gymnasiums in a sea of homely strangers, where everyone is sober and no one ever smiles..."
Read online at Psychology Today.
"The atom is the smallest basic unit of our universe, a tiny engine humming inside matter. The nucleus is smaller still: protons and neutrons clumped together at the center of a storm of negatively charged electrons. That huddle, positively charged, is the center of all centers, the kernel around which molecules are made and of which worlds are built. It is also the smallest basic unit of a family..."
Read online at The Rumpus.
"Womanhood was the only club ever to admit her, apart from girls’ field hockey, who’d wanted someone fun for on the bus. So she lorded it over Nancy Freeman. And she felt superior in her medieval horse-diaper menstrual belt, loving her childhood fantasy of maidenhood that happened once a month. The blood looked like feathers too, with little dark flecks in among the red..."
"Freud said we kiss to simulate the long lost suckle impulse at a mother’s breast. The impulse to seek comfort, nourishment, in another’s teat. Without delving too far into interspecies suckling, I’d like to talk about the kiss. Good old-fashioned tonsil hockey, pastime, treasure, institution. Smooching, necking, making out. For blissful decades of increasingly unrestricted sexual expression, my countrymen and women have been practicing the buss, the lip lock, osculation. We act like we invented it. We didn’t. Listen to Catullus V..."