Writing

  1. As the two people who usually read and respond to Toast submissions, we the Nicoles thought it would it be fun to come up with a short list of our favorite freelance pieces this year.

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  2. I. Tradition I always wanted the kind of holidays you see in Publix commercials, ones stuffed with family sitting around a mile-long table that’s covered with dishes all lovingly made. I imagined waking on Thanksgiving to frosted windows and a house already warm from the oven. Aunts and uncles and cousins would stagger in throughout the day, some early enough to watch the parade while the air slowly turned savory; some just in time…

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  3. You’re writing your manuscript with Jennifer Lawrence in mind to speed up the book optioning process.

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  4. We want to be able to count the seven gables, walk through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, locate the port that Captain Ahab sailed from, and verify whether the author got it right, whether the storyworld resembles our own.

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  5. You listen to the quiet hum of your best friends’ breathing, the ocean baptizing the shore again and again. This moment is the closest thing to home you’ve felt in a long time.

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  6. It was April of 2009, and immediately upon our arrival in Marrakesh, I was accosted from all directions with the joyous cry: "La soeur d'Obama!"

    Obama’s sister was a much better reception than I'd been expecting, based on my mother's advice to me when I told her Pedro and I would be taking this trip: Don't tell anyone you're American. Say you're from Jamaica.

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  7. The West has a storied history of taking from India.

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  8. Sometime during middle school a male relative told me that if I weren’t in a wheelchair, I’d be “tall, thin, and gorgeous.” He meant it as a compliment, and I took it as such. Even as my throat tightened and my palms tingled with discomfort, I thanked him. Because I knew could have been was the closest I’d ever come to beautiful so long as I used a wheelchair.

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  9. The woman did nothing more to catch Yakov's attention than to stand in the stale morning air, arms folded across her chest. In the crowd of commuters bustling through City Square, she should’ve been invisible, but the sight of her made him stop. He did not think her beautiful. He stared as if he were in one of the city’s churches and she was part of a mural on its wall.

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  10. In bookselling, and in no other sphere of my life, I do believe in divine Providence. Bookselling is a petty god, but I am its favorite.

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  11. "Keep your...keep your dick warm while I'm gone, then."

    "Best of luck with your whole genitals."

    "I have more fingers than orifices. That's true for both of us. For all of us, humanly speaking, when it comes to being embodied. More fingers than orifices."

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  12. A few weeks ago, Geoff Marcy was being discussed as a potential Nobel Prize honoree. Then BuzzFeed leaked the story that Marcy had been found guilty of sexual harassment. Last Thursday, my colleagues and I received an email from the Chancellor of UC Berkeley informing us that Marcy had resigned.

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  13. Uuuugggh
    They're just taking a bunch of words and making it into this whole thing 
    Sometimes I don't even know what I'm doing, so that's me, right there, so it goes even beyond what we can associate it with
    It can be a combination of things

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  14. Alex’s hair was beginning to gray at the nape of his neck and he tired after walking up only two flights of stairs. I teased him about these facts only to deflect responsibility.

    With every stroke of the pen or tap of the keyboard, I could feel energy pooling in my fingertips. Late at night, I’d touch Alex’s shoulder and feel its frailty, my fingers pressing down and feeling only bone.

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  15. This time last year I called the cops on my husband. I can’t completely remember the path that led to that, not the medium-term path. Long-term, he’d been prone to violent, scary fits of temper and self-harm on and off for years. Short-term, I’d gone to bed on an evening when going to bed looked like—was meant to look like—an act of war.

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