Dear White People: I Want You To Come From a Place of Strength

Does the title of this post feel condescending?  Because it feels that way when it’s directed at me. Spend any amount of time on the color line and you’ll hear this, or some variation of it, that people of color need to stop seeing themselves as victims (or more often “playing the victim” because identity…

Hate Mainstream Media? Sorry, Facts Don’t Have a Liberal Bias

Retiring conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes complained that after years of bashing from the right wing, the mainstream media no longer could perform their function as reporters, observers, fact dispensers, and even truth tellers, and he said we needed them.  Like Goebbels before them, conservatives understood that they had to create their own facts,…

Writing Memoir is a Kick in the Ass

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” – Robert Frost As a Musical Theater major I participated in an acting exercise called The Chair.  In it, a plush chair sat alone in a dark room, illuminated by a single, bright light.  One by one, everyone in class sat silently in the chair.…

A List of Shots I Have Thrown Away (and One I Took)

In dueling, throwing away one’s shot meant deliberately firing into the ground.  Usually both men threw away their first shots to prove they meant business, which I find hilarious.  “You think I’m afraid to fire my pistol?  Check this out.”  BAM!  “Hole in the ground.”  Macho posturing, on the playground or the dueling ground, is…

Recommended Reading: Roxane Gay, “Hunger”

The first line of the marketing letter that comes with the Uncorrected Proof of Roxane Gay’s Hunger reads, “Dear Bookseller, What you have before you is not an easy book to read.  But I guarantee that as soon as you start, you won’t be able to put it down.”  Both things are true. Hunger is an open…

Walking to Work: a True Story

It’s been six months since I saw the old man around the corner, walking his huge dog and wearing a baseball hat that feels like a hate crime, white letters on red. The first time I saw the old man in the red hat with the white letters, the country had just heard the Man…

Recommended Reading: J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy”

Scotch-Irish is somewhat of a misnomer, as people who claim the ancestry have little to no Scottish blood.  They’re primarily folks who left England and resettled in Northern Ireland for religious freedom in the 17th century, then left Ireland in the 18th and early 19th century in search of – yet again – religious freedom (Presbyterian,…