in recent years


you’re the nearest to my heart

Dear Crystal,

Today is five years since we started dating. Five years. That’s crazy, right? Genuinely unbelievable? Five years since we realized we wanted to hold hands and kiss and stuff and said, “Hey, let’s try this relationship thing” and then you kissed me real aggressively and got a bloody nose all over my chest. Good, memorable, wonderful times.

You’re the best person I know and not just because you not only tolerate, but love and enable me. You are smart and funny and kind and generous and I have never had someone love and support me the way that you do. You believe that I can do anything, even when I am sure than I cannot do anything at all.

You feel so much. It’s one of the best thing about you. You just feel. You feel love and hate and joy and   [more…]

make a toast, make a wish the weepies, “not your year”

Dear 2012,

Every new year I think, “This year will be better!” and every year end I think, “Wow, this year was awful, wasn’t it?” and, honestly, after so many of those years I have no idea what constitutes a good year or a bad year. Years are made up of good and bad and stuff, always, and maybe this time I’ll retain that knowledge and stop holding out hope for a year that sucks less? Is this growing up? Am I an adult now?

2012 wasn’t any different. You were okay, I guess? You got me engaged early on and a sweet freelance gig at the end, but you also moved me to North Dakota in the middle, so I still kind of want to scream “Fuck you” loudly and at length into your face. Were you a   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: tiger eyes

Dear Judy,

I didn’t expect to like Tiger Eyes. I’m not sure why, honestly, and after the disappointment of Blubber earlier this week I was really, really dreading sitting down with it. But, like the dedicated person I am trying very hard to be, I sucked it up and I sat down with it and I devoured it. When I was reading Blubber, I had to bargain with myself to read it. I read five chapters and then got to watch fifteen minutes of an episode of Doctor Who. I set myself up for a similar bargain with Tiger Eyes, but it left the good Doctor utterly forsaken.

Tiger Eyes is really beautiful and painful and honest. It’s a lot more detached and literary   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: blubber

Dear Judy,

Reading Blubber was not a fun experience. That’s usually a sign of a book that has affected me in some way, so that’s not necessarily a harbinger of doom or anything. But, let me tell you, it’s not not either.

I am fat, Judy. Extremely fat! Death fat. The kind of fat that they crop the heads off of on the news while talking about the OBESITY EPIDEMIC that apparently has a death grip on the entire United States. I was a fat kid, a fat adolescent, a fat teenager, a fat adult, a fat undergrad, a fat substitute teacher, a fat grad student, a fat unemployed writer, and I’ll probably someday die while fat. I will likely always be fat. And, Judy,   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: deenie

The exact edition from my youth. Bless those crazed vintage buyers.

Dear Judy,

Deenie. Where do I even start?

Deenie was the second of your books to reach me in my youth and after rereading, I find myself with a fondness for Deenie and her story akin to the one I have for Margaret and hers. I see flaws in their characters more clearly than I did as a kid, but they are the ones who knew me when, two of my favorite companions on the torturous path of adolescence.

Okay, Judy, let’s get personal. By sixth grade — Deenie’s very age — I had already worked out the whole masturbating thing. Not just the doing it bit, but that it was normal, that it wouldn’t kill   [more…]