June 6, 2019

 I picture the opening of a movie. A medium shot of the Santa Fe Motel. It is white stucco, with palm trees around it, the sky layers of pink and yellow as the sun rises.  A title card superimposes over the shot:

National City


A woman with dark hair swinging right above her shoulders walks out from the motel. Maybe she walks to the corner and takes the bus. Maybe she walks the six mil...

March 12, 2019

The door to my bedroom squeaked open on its own my first morning living in Chicago. It moved slowly. The noise wasn’t that loud—just enough to wake me up. The room was small; the bed, just big enough. I’d be close to anyone or anything wavering through the door. It was July 2015. I’d been in Logan Square less than twenty-four hours. Driving the two and a half hours from Central Illinois, where I h...

February 5, 2019

Here’s my story. It’s all about survival. — Madonna, “Survival”

It started simply enough. The week before Christmas, I worked a fifty-six-hour workweek. Six days. I’ve done it before with little problem other than being tired. However, this time, I couldn’t sleep between my night shift and my early morning shift; I ended up not sleeping at all for three days.     

          Then the c...

January 2, 2019

Let’s play pretend. Dogs bark, their noises bounce off the bare trees, so we’re not sure how close or far away they are. They could be barking at each other, at squirrels, or people who got too close to their property, or maybe they simply want their presence to be known.

       We are children living near 8671 Euclid-Chardon Road. It is April 1988. We are seven years old. Our feet press into the b...

November 5, 2018

I once believed in the beauty of God.

In the parking lot at St. Mary’s, the Catholic school I attended from kindergarten through the first half of fourth grade, a thick yellow line ran down the middle of the parking lot, dividing us kids at recess. Boys on one side, girls—my friends—on the opposite. Including my best friend Lauren. We stood at the line and talked to each other. We twirled down the...

October 3, 2018


Kirtland is the kind of place where mist rolls across fields and sneaks into the dense thick of trees that border it. It's the kind of town where it's not out of place to see a car parked under a street light and the driver wearing a werewolf mask. This is a place where teenagers from neighboring suburbs drive through during the weeks leading up to Halloween, looking for monsters in the woods.


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