In Defense of Gossip

I became gossip’s ally out of pure spite, which is only fitting. A young woman of my acquaintance shared her New Year’s resolution to stop gossiping so much. This wholesome, make-up-free child, with her curly locks and sparkling eyes, a dutiful churchgoer and caretaker of infants, announced her intention with a zealous earnestness that immediately […]

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Service Jobs Are Hard Work or, All We Want for Christmas Is a Living Wage and a Modicum of Dignity

I visited a Starbucks in downtown Seattle the other day–the ultimate location for a Starbucks. It’s my ideal coffee shop in other ways, as well: the people who work there are the friendliest, nicest Starbucks employees I have run into, and that’s saying something. As a rule, the employees behind the counter at Starbucks are […]

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Refreshing Ghost Stories for Hot Days

When it’s hot and you have no air conditioning, I recommend four things: cold showers, oscillating fans, liquor in the freezer, and ghost stories, the kind where people are constantly exhaling clouds of icy vapor. Not aliens, vampires, serial killers, werewolves, or plagues–it’s got to be ghost stories. If it isn’t common wisdom yet, it […]

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The Luck of the Immigrant

If I may, my credentials. My lineage is thus: three-quarters fourth-generation Irish immigrant, one-quarter Italian. My mother’s grandparents immigrated from Ireland to Charlestown, MA; the Morses, whom I am told were once known as Mosseys (“horse thieves,” as my uncle Denis says), the O’Learys, and the Hurleys. My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Benotti, and […]

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My 2015 Gift Guide

I love gift guides. Every blog and lifestyle site and webmag has a seasonal breakdown For Him and For Her and For Fido and Under $50 and I read them all, even the ones that are obviously sponsored. (Does the Gawker staff honestly have an opinion about which brand of shaving cream I put under […]

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Letter to an Addict from an Addict

Dear Addict, Right off the bat, let’s stipulate that life is unfair. It’s not that I want to dismiss your pain, just accept it as a basic tenet and move on. The world is full of terrible, difficult things, and anyone who gets up in the morning and goes out to grapple with it and […]

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Nature Writing

If I could do it, I would write about Nature. I would write about invigorating hikes and perilous climbs, how rain soaked my socks and a bear tapped on the tent frame and all was well because Nature. I would tell of sweeping vistas, towering cliffs, and mountain peaks that pierce chilled clouds to pose, […]

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Comfort Reading

Comfort reading constitutes the books you pick up or re-read to soothe yourself. They may contribute to your intellectual development or ability to conduct a thrilling high-stakes debate with an Internet troll or they may not, but their primary purpose is to allow your mind to swath itself in a compelling and relaxing alternate world […]

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Catching Up

When I launched this blog, I smugly and rashly declared I had “written a novel,” which is funny. In my defense, I didn’t realize it was. Turns out there was more to do, who could have predicted! Well, maybe every friend who’s written a book and was too kind to laugh at my hubris. And […]

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What We Found in the Ruins

It took me two years to write my novel, though it took twenty to get started. When I was done, I flopped over at the finish line. I’d stuffed every idea—good, bad, and half-cocked—into one project. I did the only thing that came to mind; I replayed Uncharted. Video Games and Me My family had […]

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