By Tyler Gillespie

Tyler Gillespie is an MFA nonfiction candidate at the University of New Orleans. The Awkward Phase, a Tumblr he co-runs, was a finalist in the Chronicle Books “Great Tumblr Book Search.” He tweets here.

  1. On her 71st birthday, my grandma married a strapping, 6-foot-2 guy with a shaved head nearly 40 years her junior. My Floridian grandma, who I call Gramel, faced an October audience of about 50 people in a dark movie theater. Her knee had recently been replaced, so she stood with her back close to a wall. From where I sat, with the other guests, I could see her weight shift, trying to find stability. “Who…

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  2. “Do people think it’s weird you’re not drinking?” a 27-year-old I had just met asked me at a recent Christmas party. “I mean, like, do you drink even a little bit? There has to be something in your cup.” (Ed. note -- Obligatory John Mulaney reference: "I know you don't drink.") The company party which I attended as a plus-one boasted an open bar, including some bootleg moonshine (it was in Florida). Most of the…

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  3. At a part-time museum job I had in Hyde Park, I cut out a photo from the Chicago Tribune’s daily of Tina Fey and her husband Jeff and thumbtacked it next to Tina Turner and Minnie Mouse on our breakroom wall. Everyone I knew in Chicago loved Tina and some of us pretended she was our friend. The caption under the photo said that she and Jeff went to our museum on their first date. I took…

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