The Men You Meet On A Cross-Country Road Trip

An elderly gentleman who remarks on your license plate, one rarely seen in his rural Northeastern neighborhood. You happen to grab a coffee at the same cafe. He perseveres through your extended effort to ignore his hovering, thrusting the local paper at you, suggesting several regional events that will surely enliven your visit.

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Quick Kills: An Interview With Lynn Lurie, Pt. II

Lynn Lurie is the author of Corner of the Dead, winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize for Fiction, University of Massachusetts Press (2008) and Quick Kills, Etruscan Press. We recently had a delightful conversation about her writing, which I am happy to share with you. You can read Part I of our conversation here.

Quick Kills (and Corner of the Dead, for that matter) resonated so much for me with the experience of having recently read Roxane Gay's An Untamed State, both in terms of fairy tale and in terms of the idea of trauma: experiencing trauma, 'recovering' from trauma, and how one can repurpose or remake that trauma as narrative, and I'd love to hear any impressions you have of her work.

I read An Untamed State without taking a break.

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The Worst Soccer Mom

There must be hundreds of them, scattered all over the hill facing the field, men and women and grandparents and siblings sitting on lawn chairs and blankets. They’ve settled in with bags of Goldfish crackers, juice boxes, and hot cups of coffee they picked up at Starbucks. They chit-chat with their hands tucked loosely in the pockets of their hooded sweatshirts, their weight on the left foot, then the right, then the left again, coolly observing their children. They recline.

I don’t know any of the parents on the hill, don’t recognize any of the boys, and my son is moving at sloth-speed along the perimeter of the practice field, a wounded, abandoned look on his face. My husband took him to his first practice on Tuesday night, but he is out of town now and will be out of town for every Thursday night practice and Saturday game from here until the end of the season – all of eternity, really – and Elvis, my son, doesn’t remember what his coach looks like, let alone her name.

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How To Tell If You Are In a Regency Romance Novel

Previously in this series.

1. You are either a virgin or a sad and lovely widow whose husband was lost at sea. You are spirited, but still passing ladylike.

2. Your father is away in the colonies protecting his tobacco interests, or a bumbling idiot, or a gambler. His character flaws lead to you becoming betrothed to a man you’ve never met.

3. Your dance card is filled up with the names of eligible gentlemen who are excessively unattractive.

4. You have a maiden aunt who despairs of you. You have a gaggle of sisters of marriageable age and they are all silly.

5. You are an incorrigible womanizer and you have lived in France. You are squandering your sizeable inheritance on loose women and card tables. You may very well be a pirate.

6. Your best friend is a notorious flirt and not as pretty as you. She weds a buffoon for convenience and immediately regrets her decision. Her sole ambition in life is to orchestrate a marriage for you that’s ever so slightly beneath hers.

7. A gentleman of your acquaintance once addressed you by your Christian name as he brushed his fingers against the lace filigree of your fichu. You still blush at the recollection.

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Girls from Good Families

Liberty market, a crescent-shaped open air mall, was a five-minute drive away from our house in Lahore, Pakistan and contained two of my favorite places, the bookstores Iqbal Books and Book Gallery. Book Gallery, an airy, one-story establishment, was at one end of the crescent. It housed every Enid Blyton imaginable and so, like all English-medium-educated Pakistanis, I read my way up the Blyton ladder, from Enchanted Forests and Dreadful Children to Malory Towers and Famous Fives. The Book Gallery clerks never batted an eyelash at my weekly purchases, not even once I graduated to James Hadley Chase, Jacqueline Susan and Harold Robbins.

Iqbal Bookstore was at the other end of the crescent next to Shezan Bakery. Every week, while my mother stocked up on cream rolls, naan-kathai cookies, lemon barley squash and other goodies, I was allowed to go next door by myself. Iqbal’s was a cramped space with wall-to-ceiling books, no natural sunlight, and the odor of soggy newspapers. Yet, to me, it was an Aladdin’s cave of shimmering light bulbs shining on precious books. The stout, portly man who perched at the counter, his folded arms resting on his watermelon belly, was the cave’s grumpy genie, whose job it was to scrutinize customers and their tastes in reading material.

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Guidelines And Expectations For Your Child’s Common Core State Standards

Previously: Normal milestones in child development.

The Common Core State Standards reflect the skills and knowledge that students will need in order to succeed in college, career, and life. Understanding the various milestones students will be expected to meet is essential for implementing the standards successfully. Failure to do so could result in the loss of an entire generation to darkness.

Kindergarten

Students are expected to read and diagram complete sentences in all manner of languages, both spoken and unspoken, visible and invisible

Grade 1

Students are expected to send forth their spirits from their bodies a’nights in the form of a black dog

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“Five Anniversaries”: On My Same-Sex Marriage(s)

Lindsay King-Miller’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.

1. July 29, 2012

In the months leading up to my wedding to Charlie, more than a few people have asked us, “Wait, is that even legal in Colorado?” Well, no, it won’t be legally recognized in any meaningful sense (we’re already registered with the state as designated beneficiaries, which is the only form of governmental acknowledgment available to us as a same-sex couple). Still, there’s no law that says we can’t have a big party and dress up in white formalwear and make our friends and family watch us promise to love each other forever, so that’s what we’re doing. And we’re doing it here, because Colorado is beautiful and it’s where we live and I love it more than any other place on earth.

The symbolism of a wedding, as much as the excuse to look really fancy and eat amazing food and spend weeks curating the world’s most perfect dance playlist, is what inspires us to go big. We know we want to spend our lives together, and we won’t really be saying anything today that we haven’t already told each other over beer and Thai takeout. But this isn’t just about the vows – it’s about the validation. Our state won’t recognize us as a family, but our loved ones will. We’re asking them to be on our side, to support us not just as two really cool and smart individuals but as a couple, to help us stay together no matter what weird shit happens down the road.

My best friend performs the ceremony. He’s an ordained minister of one of those churches that ordains people over the internet, which doesn’t actually matter because you don’t need any legal accreditation to conduct an extralegal wedding; more importantly, he has a great voice and phenomenal stage presence and loves both of us dearly. We play rock-paper-scissors to determine who gets to say their vows first, and Charlie wins, so I am already teary-eyed by the time I recite mine. But we both spill over when our officiant announces, “By the power vested in me by every person in this room, I pronounce you partners in marriage!” We look around at all the people who love us, laughing and applauding, and there is no part of this that doesn’t feel real.

2. August 6, 2012

On our honeymoon in Massachusetts, after several days of lounging on the beach in Cape Cod (and a whale-watching excursion on which I very nearly lose my expensive lobster lunch), we get married for the second time. Our officiant this time is a justice of the peace who marries us outside the city hall of a Boston suburb, on a bridge over a little stream that looks very picturesque on the website.

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Families Who Hate Each Other In Western Art History

Mrs Cyprian Williams and her Two Little Girls 1891 by Philip Wilson Steer 1860-1942

Mummy can’t listen to you just now, my darlings
Mummy is being consumed by regrets

Essie, Ruby and Ferdinand, Children of Asher Wertheimer 1902 by John Singer Sargent 1856-1925

shouldn’t we all be smiling, Mother?
for the portrait?
thats a good idea
why dont you tell me what i have to fucking smile about
and i’ll try to work up the muscles to do it

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Link Roundup!

When my mother was an astronaut (oh, man, this is so good.)

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US abortion doctors speak:

Recruited as part of the first batch of legal abortion counsellors in Texas, Glenna joined Curtis at his first clinic, the Fairmount Center in Dallas, in 1974. Since then, she says, things have changed for the worse. “Women express more shame. I can’t think of a time when it was worse than it is now. I used to ask women how they first heard the word abortion, how they learned about it. There were always very personal stories about someone they knew, or found out had had one. Now, the first time they saw it was on some ugly billboard. It has been legal throughout their lifespan, not to mention their reproductive lifespan. But it has been completely politicised. ”

Curtis, 76, agrees: “Patients never came in talking about all this shame. They felt it was an OK thing to do, if they could just find somebody to do it for them.”

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