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Finding My Inner Calamity Jane

By Tania RunyanMarch 9, 2016

Calamity Jane lumbered around Deadwood in fringed buckskins, spitting, cursing, and waving her whiskey flask in the shadows of the Black Hills. And I want to be more like her. Guns scare me, of course. Animal skins give me the willies, and more than a sip of hard liquor gets me coughing. Deadwood’s very existence…

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Peace, My Animal

By Natalie VestinFebruary 24, 2016

“Benedic, anima mea,” I say each night to the mouse that lives behind my desk. I know what the phrase speaks of a soul, but “animal” often has more meaning to me than “soul.” Occasionally I quote Ada Limón’s poem “The Long Ride”: How good it is to love live things, even when what they’ve…

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Lucia Berlin: A Master of Catholic Fiction, Part 2

By Jenny ShankOctober 13, 2015

Continued from yesterday. Catholic imagery appears throughout Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women, the posthumous selected stories that has brought her singular fiction out of obscurity. The magnificent “El Tim,” a story about a charismatic adolescent Mexican-American boy who disrupts a Catholic school with his sly behavior, begins: “A nun stood in each classroom…

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Breaking Bad’s Walter White is My Shining Star

By Tania RunyanAugust 4, 2015

So why did I take instant interest, even comfort, in a man who lurched down a dirt road with unconscious, poisoned men rolling around the floor of an RV? Why me, the girl who did not attend one drinking party in high school or college and who has never lit, snorted, or injected a thing? With every reason to fill my mind with good things, why did I keep wanting to return one of the most disturbing TV shows of all time?

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The Four-Day Layover

By Andy WhitmanSeptember 27, 2011

I am between flights. It’s a four-day wait in this case, and I can spend it at home, so it probably doesn’t constitute a proper layover. But it feels like a layover, and I have a difficult time concentrating on anything but my connecting flight, the one that will unite me with my sister. I’m…

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Suffering and Voyeurism

By Kelly FosterMarch 3, 2010

I locked myself in my dorm room one weekend my sophomore year of college. I had a double minor in European History and German. In one of my Twentieth Century Europe classes, we’d spent our Friday class watching a documentary about the Holocaust. Though it didn’t contain any “new” information, I was struck as if…

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Suffer the Little Children

By Laura BramonSeptember 3, 2009

For seven months, I passed through a season of voices, visitations, strange votes from a memory that would have me believe this friend had touched my hand, that one had risen from the dead. I woke most mornings parched and oddly drunk on whatever I had dreamed, my body full of pain. I finally went…

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