Click! My Catholic School Report Card

At St. Charles School in the mid 1960s, Father Foley, our parish pastor, came into our classroom to hand out the report cards. He said the same thing every year: You know, children, I look at these report cards Sister prepared so carefully for you, and the very first thing I look at is what? […]

Haiti One Year Later: Edwidge Danticat Wants Us To Create Dangerously

“Truth is trouble,” wrote Toni Morrison in the 2009 anthology she edited, Burn This Book. Trouble for a comatose public, for a corrupt justice system: Certain kinds of trauma visited on peoples are so deep, so cruel, that … only writers can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning, sharpening the moral imagination. And […]

Bunion Blues

An insistent whirring sound drew me out of anesthesia and into the barbaric light of the operating room. While I had been asleep for a “minute or two”–as is protocol for day surgery in order to get patients home sooner–I was now awake and aware, though in no pain as my foot was numbed. I closed my eyes […]

Remembering the Montreal Massacre

Many writers talk about the story that claws its way out from your core. I have such a story. It haunts me as it haunts women all over the world. On December 6, 1989, 21 years ago today, 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered the University of Montreal engineering school, École Polytechnique, with a Sturm and Ruger […]

What Are You Thinking, Oprah?

Oprah, Oprah, Oprah–what are you thinking, girl? Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom is your book club selection, the first book of your last season? Really? Mr. “high-art literary tradition”? Remember him–he who refused to go slumming with Oprah’s readership nine years ago? Too lowbrow, too “schmaltzy.” The man who told National Public Radio in 2001: “I had […]

Women We’ll Be Reading 200 Years From Now

“Women I admire have gone through hell to get their work out there,” Erica Jong told us this past weekend. “I’d like to change that for you.” Despite its sale of 20 million copies worldwide, Jong’s 1973 feminist novel Fear of Flying provoked a backlash, the vestiges of which still own a sliver of Jong’s […]

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