Personal Stories

  1. "Sorry, folks, there's no wi-fi on-board this California Zephyr train...the only WWW you need is the Wide World outside your Window."

    "What you're seeing right now is America's backyard."

  2. In English, I speak fast. I’m loud, perhaps even annoying, depending on who you ask. In Spanish, I feel like I am perpetually blushing: polite, apologetic, and scared.

  3. 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.

  4. I’ve been trying to think of the right metaphor to describe this experience -- the way I can and can’t see real, tangible changes in my body, my mood, my place in the world; the way I have faith in the process and am exasperated by it, because from where I’m standing it will never end. The word transition implies that I started out as one thing and am becoming another, and that at the…

  5. I work in a nondescript multi-story county building in a university city in the United States. People have mistaken our building for everything from a hotel to a bank to a suite of medical offices. One day not long ago, we all had to attend a half-day of "Active Shooter Training" led by officers from the county sheriff's department, because -- to quote one of the officers -- the mindset we should all have is…

  6. Since moving to a relatively rural prefecture in Japan to teach English, I've often been mistaken for or passed as a Japanese person, and perhaps this is no surprise. Though not fluent, I can sustain a basic conversation for at least a few minutes. But I'm not Japanese—my nationality is American, my ethnicity Chinese, and my feelings, when I am taken for a Japanese person, are conflicted.

  7. The oldest story in the world starts with a fortress, a dreamer, and an elusive idea: "a better life." Pack your bags, little dreamer, spread your wings and go! Fly over the fortress to chase that map, that blank spot, that finger-pointed "there."

  8. In some ways, camp was an exercise in playing pretend. If we rode horses, went swimming, shot some arrows, and never talked about our disabilities, then maybe we’d be almost normal, almost abled. There wasn’t a chance to wonder if we were just as whole as abled kids and our experiences just as valid. We accepted without hesitation that normal was the goal.

  9. This is what is harder to say: I changed my mind the moment before. My body changed my mind for me; after the four glasses of wine, and the groping in the cab, and the finally, finally pounding with my heart, my body hesitated. But still, I did not say no. Or stop. Or wait. Or maybe we’d better not. He said, “You’re such a tease,” which, all things considered, seemed like a fair assessment.

  10. "Do you have any specific suggestions for improvement for Elena? Anything that would help you learn more in class?"

    “I think that she has to feel a little bit more confident.”

    As I pressed the button on the door of the green fence and waited to be buzzed into my new secondary school, I felt close to losing both my resolve and my breakfast.

  11. Previously by Abbey Fenbert: The Pitch Meeting for Wishbone On my honor: The horse was too high. I was no coward. It’s just there was an assessment, and logic deemed the horse was way too high up. I will never be good at selling things. Dad will never take the cookie sales sheet “to his work” and sell boxes by the dozen, yet I will covet the catalogue of prizes and imagine that thermos with…

  12. 100% genuine gossip, sourced by Our Woman in Hastings County. Information provided for entertainment purposes only, keep it to yourself. Previous installments can be found here and here. Which propane company has been undercutting the competition by not charging HST? Shouldn't have expanded so far off the Mohawk reservation, the competition must have dropped a dime on them to the tax man, but you can always count on them to show up, and…

  13. Rachel Marcy's previous work for The Toast can be found here.

    My mom and I were in our front yard when the Environmental Police pulled over their pick-up truck. The officer in the passenger seat leaned out the window.

    “Do you have a bear in your house?” he asked.

    They’d received a 911 call about a bear in the caller’s home, but the line went dead before they got a location.

  14. There are a handful of truly historic meetings in the theatre world. When Rodgers met Hammerstein. When Lunt met Fontanne. When legendary American playwright Eugene O’Neill met The Bottle.

  15. In my life I have only been unerringly good at one thing, and that was English MACC. “MACC” stood for “Mountain Academic Competition Conference,” and “English” designated the subject matter of which I – a four-time MACC champion – was master. “It was like Quiz Bowl,” is what I’ve mumbled, wanting to change the subject, on the few occasions I’ve tried to explain MACC in my adult life. But that’s not true. It