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Never Too Old

Two feminist heroes are in the news in the same week. Kaci Hickox, the nurse who went bike riding rather than comply with a self-quarantine after volunteering with Doctors without Borders in Sierra Leone, and Brittany Maynard, the woman with brain cancer who set and now has pushed back the date she will end her life. I’m not sure I agree with either of them. It doesn’t matter. The essence of heroism, in my book, is moral courage. And that’s what I see here. I’m impressed that Brittany Maynard doesn’t feel compelled to go through with her original November 1st date with suicide so as to not disappoint the millions…

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Go See for Me

I can’t go back in there. I know it’s lying there. Maybe it’s alive. I don’t know. When I heard the thump, I ran. I think I saw eyes. I don’t know. If it’s alive, it’s all alone. Alone in that last stall.

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Where is It?

Creatures can live in your house and you won’t even know it. Creatures you don’t recognize and couldn’t name if paid. And then there are the many animals and insects that could be in your house, feral, secretive creatures that know how to stay out of your way. Their little grey bodies feel your footsteps and sense…

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The Scary People are Coming to Dinner

The part about extending invitations to dinner is luscious.”Oh, you really must come, see our new kitchen.” Head toss, wave. The best feeling ever is when the event itself is a long ways off, a beautiful feast on the horizon, everyone well-coiffed, pleasant, and stainless. Idyllic. Then comes the steady drip of days counted off.…

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My Square in the Domestic Violence Quilt

Originally posted on Red's Wrap:PART 1 Thirty years ago, I sat all night on the sofa in my upper flat, smoking Benson & Hedges, with my mother’s green and orange afghan wrapped around my shoulders, waiting for my addicted, unpredictable, and sometimes violent boyfriend to pull up in front of my house, get out of his car, and use the key I had given him by mistake to come in and kill us all. After spending all night on the couch looking out the window at the corner intersection and waiting for his car to pull up, I showered, dressed, got my daughter ready for school, and went…

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Just Like I Remembered: High School Reunion

When my old boyfriend came through the door of the hotel where my 40th high school reunion was being held, three girls, wait, three 58-year old women scurried over to quick give me the 411.  “Clark’s here.” “He’s right over there.” Shushing and fluttering like starlings after the same bug, they gathered round waiting for…

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The Reflex of Deference

The inside of inequality, the cellular scrapings of being considered lesser than, lies in the reflex of deference. Deference is the wee tiny rock that women carry in their pockets, the signal to tell them to get out of the way, sit down and be quiet, to become small and unremarkable in the presence of…

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Cross Over

This is a story I’ve told before but sometimes, the first time you tell a story, it means one thing and when you tell it again, it means something else. It’s not a big story, no adultery here, no orphaned children. It’s not about a mistake made that involved a lot of weeping. It’s a small story with a lifelong lesson. Once upon a time, there was a young woman who worked all day and into some nights tallying up census data and writing reports about the various plights of poor people. She did this work for a big organization whose mission it was to fight poverty and racism. She…

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Do I Want to Be Cheryl Strayed or Her Mother?

It’s not that Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,100 miles, a trip chronicled in her book, Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s that she did it alone. She chose to be alone. No cell phone. No hiking partner. No thin string connecting her to rescue. What I admire is not the hike because I think many of us could do the hike. I admire that she wasn’t afraid to be afraid. In a scene that will stick with me for a long time, she stops to take her boots off and rest her really messed up, blistered, damaged feet. One of her boots falls off the side of…

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