By E.B. Bartels

E.B. Bartels is from Massachusetts and writes nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Ploughshares, Fiction Advocate, and the anthology The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 among others. See her website at www.ebbartels.com, tweets at @eb_bartels, and read her haikus about strangers’ dogs at ebbartels.wordpress.com.

  1. This is E.B. Bartels' first essay for The Butter. Her previous work for The Toast can be found here. In college, I was a terrible Russian language and literature major. I never finished reading Crime and Punishment, I still haven’t touched War and Peace, and I never went to the public Russian baths. Even though I spent a significant amount of time in the Motherland -- a month living in a Siberian village on…

    15 comments
  2. Previously in Dead Pet Chronicles: A Fish Formerly Called Wanda. In fourth grade, I was the new student in school. While I liked many of my classmates, I felt shy when it came to having people over to my house or accepting birthday party invitations. Only by the very end of the year had I begun to feel like I made a couple friends, including a sweet, quiet, freckly girl named Meredith,…

    7 comments
  3. Previously in Dead Pet Chronicles: Aristotle the Turtle. “Are fish supposed to look like this?” My two roommates appeared by my side, our faces almost touching as we peered into the tank, so close our breath fogged the plastic. The three of us peered into the one-gallon tank on my dresser, full of neon pink rocks, a fake plant, a gray plastic castle, and a purple-maroon Betta, our beloved Wanda, the mascot of…

    18 comments
  4. I used to be a regular at the pet store on the second floor of my local mall, down by Sears. Whenever I had to go with my mom to run errands, at the end of our quest, I would drag her to the pet shop. I gaped at the squirmy puppies – all cartilage – and kittens no more than eyes and fluff, along with the usual sickly goldfish and colorful, preachy birds. What…

    63 comments