Ross Gay Demands Our Attention (in a Pandemic or Otherwise)

Ross Gay is asking for our attention. Wielding luscious everyday words—Ashmead’s kernel, feverfew, rudbeckia—and filling the mouth with linguistic play—thank you what in us rackets glad / what gladrackets us—to the plumage of his own purple scarf, his salmon-colored button down shirt, he beckons us in, points, demands: Come with me. Look here. Feel this. …

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Virginia Sole-Smith Wants us to Drop the Guilt Over Family Dinner

At my house, these days, we eat ice cream every day. By we, I mean my nearly 5-year-old twins and me. You heard me right: ice cream. Every day. Sometimes even twice. My kids and I have also been eating dinner in front of the TV together a couple nights a week. I recently admitted …

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A Hundred Years and a Half a Block Apart

“She wanted a home, and that was how it began.” So opens an essay by Annie Eliza Pidgeon Searing, published 100 years ago in House Beautiful. In her 1921 essay, Searing recounted her journey—scrappy, drawn-out, and often carried by little more than a hope and a prayer—about the old stone cottage at 142 Pearl Street …

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Kingston: A City Remade by the Coronavirus

Kingston, a small city in upstate New York, became my home four and a half years ago. Seeking space, affordability, green, and quiet, my husband and I traded Brooklyn for this city of 23,000. Unwittingly, we joined a slow-drip migration north. Since the arrival of coronavirus, though, what had been a steadily paced increase in …

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This Tiny Maine Island is 12 Square Miles of Solitude

The first thing you see is the church steeple. It appears almost like an apparition, a slender point of white rising up from the rolling mound of dark, dark green, mile upon mile of spruce forest. You rub your eyes, look again, squinting through the salty spray of the Gulf of Maine. Yes, it’s there, …

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Delight Is Essential: On Reading Ross Gay in Terrible Times

As the reality of the coronavirus outbreak settled upon us in mid-March, I felt many things: anxious, privileged, uncertain, enraged, lucky, frightened and exhausted. But I did not feel grateful. The word has long rankled me, though never have I found it as grating as in the first couple weeks of lockdown, and again as …

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Seeding a Dark World With New Life

Seeding a Dark World with New Life On Saturday, March 14, the day after public schools and our twin three years olds’ daycare closed in our Hudson Valley town, I sent the kids to their sitter one final time, frantic for a couple hours to get a few things done before I turned myself over to …

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