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

California

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...

April 4, 2019

Walk Six

My friend the writer Sara Renee Marshall introduced me to the work of Lisa Robertson, recommending her Occasional Work and Seven Walks and the Office for Soft Architecture. Sara, also a walker, is a keen and sensitive observer of space. I like the way she sees. And I see what she sees in Robertson, a writer for whom, according to critics Ryan Fitzpatrick and Susan Rudy, “space is not reduc...

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 19, 2019

Walk Five

Lately, I walk in pools. I call it swimming; I say, “I’m going swimming,” but mostly I walk. I wear a vintage-style swim cap, robin’s-egg blue with cream strap at my chin; a blue racerback one-piece suit; lavender water shoes; clear goggles; and a waterproof mp3 player that tucks behind my ears, hugging my neck. I walk through the water with foam weights and listen to short stories. Debor...

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 30, 2019

When the ambulance doors opened up, sunlight fell in, too bright and caustic and nothing like the warmth I mourn each fall, just a little bit and then more fervently with winter’s gray advent. When that day rushed back at me, there in the belly of the ambulance, I blinked and blinked, and though an oxygen mask was tied over my mouth, I struggled to breathe. I was hurt, badly. I think now of the gl...

January 23, 2019

Walk Four

For the last month, I have been living in winter. I usually live in milder Georgia where I am finishing my PhD program but have returned to my parents’ house in Michigan during holiday break. Lately, I have been retreating to their house for all of my breaks—doing, as a 33-year-old woman, what my parents wished I had done as a 19-year-old. They live on a small inland lake and there are fe...

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...

December 20, 2018

Walk Three

When I was nineteen, I went to London and, while walking the old and twisting streets, felt the simultaneous thrill and melancholy of solitude, as if for the first time. It was also in London, at a special exhibit I attended for class, that I first saw Edward Hopper’s Automat, a 1927 painting of a woman sitting alone at the café, which was on loan from the Des Moines Art Center. The woma...

November 23, 2018

Walk Two

Five years ago, I was standing in my house—a large fading Victorian with bad carpet and cracked shingles. I lived in this house with three other graduate students. Two of them were writers, and we were having a party. I remember we had just hosted a reading in our living room where, along with others, I read some poems. I was wearing my favorite black wrap dress, and I was drinking a glass...

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