The other day I had plans with friends, in-person. We met up for a birthday brunch in the garden of a local restaurant — yes, still outside, even though we’re all vaccinated, because some of us aren’t ready to go maskless in a crowded indoor space just yet. It was swelteringly hot and the waiter was having a bad day — he had to excuse himself mid-sentence at one point as he choked up. The man at the next table spoke loudly into his phone.
It was fun, at first. Novel, and almost kitsch, to be sitting at a table…
A McSweeney’s-style list (read: McSweeney’s did not want to publish this, but in the Internet age, #selfpublishing #FTW. Yeehaw!)
Donald Trump’s presidency;
The global COVID-19 pandemic;
The lack of closure in the Sopranos finale;
The time I got fired over Skype by a boss who said that the edits I had suggested to something he wrote six months earlier made him “feel so alone”;
The time a colleague who had a habit of wearing too-tight jeans and resting his hands in a genital-framing position called me a control freak, and then my boss set up a mediation meeting with HR…
Unlike many reviewers, I loved it, and here’s why
Warning: contains spoilers
I’m reading a lot of negative #Moxie reviews, and they’re pissing me off. I loved Moxie, and no, it’s not just because I adore Amy Poehler, who directed the film. As an ardent feminist who tells women’s stories for a living, I believe that some of the critiques I’m reading are truly misguided.
“‘Moxie’ is a CliffsNotes guide to fighting the patriarchy. In its hyper-condensed view, all you need is a tank top, a Bikini Kill song and a mass walkout and voilà…
Dear Amy Poehler,
My eight-year-old daughter, Ali, told me to write you this letter.
I was telling her about a dream I had, where you and I were hanging out.
“That’s ALWAYS your dream, mommy,” she said.
She wasn’t wrong. I frequently dream that we are BFFs; I have for years. When I tell my husband, “I dreamed that Amy Poehler and I…” he says, “Of course you did.”
Sometimes, you’re telling me how funny or talented I am. Other times, we just, you know, chill. Once in a while, Tina Fey makes an appearance.
I can’t help it: I…
First, get a good night’s sleep.
If you’re too anxious to sleep, consider reading one of the 10 zillion articles available on the Internet about how to improve your sleep, and/or how to cure your anxiety.
There. Now that that’s taken care of, you’re ready to make something.
Take stock of your inner terrain. What is it that you want to express?
Juuuust as the answer begins to crystallize, ask yourself if your personal expression is meaningful in the midst of a global health crisis. Or, really, ever.
Remember, when you were 19, the post-it note you found: “Self-expression isn’t…
Like memories in a snow globe
I’ve started to regard memories of my family’s day-to-day life from the before-times as distant and precious objects. To wit: I am holding a glass globe up to the light; in it, I see my daughter, Ali. It’s morning in Brooklyn, where we live, and she’s running onto the bus, calling, “You, too!,” over her shoulder, which is adorned with a My Little Pony backpack. I’ve just told her I love her and to have a good day. “Don’t forget my smoothie!”, she chirps, and then she gets on the bus, and she’s gone.
My daughter and I were in our pjs and watching “Nailed It,” the show that celebrates hilarious baking failures, when my phone rang.
“Oh! It’s daddy,” I said, and was then surprised when his friend Connor’s voice greeted me from the other end of the line.
My husband, Jordan, and his friend, Connor, have a tradition of weekend morning bike rides in Prospect Park; in the age of coronavirus, they’ve kept this tradition going, albeit while staying six feet apart from each other at all times. Exercise is essential to keeping Jordan’s spirits up. …
Let’s face it: Things weren’t exactly feeling cheerful for most of us before the coronavirus hit, what with a fraught election, the climate crisis, and — well, you can choose whichever social issue currently troubles you most. There’s no shortage.
Add a global pandemic, and it’s easy to feel like we’re living in a leadership vacuum right now. Trust of elected officials is near an all-time low. Our faith in business, media, and NGOs isn’t exactly soaring, either.
I was talking to a friend today, someone who is a leader in her local business community. As she began talking about how hard she was working to hold the people in that community together, she began to cry, tears streaming down her face despite her best efforts to stop them.
I was reminded of water pushing through cracks in concrete. And then I thought of one of my favorite Leonard Cohen lyrics:
“Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
If you’re putting pressure on yourself right now to…
Note: This story was updated March 7, 2020 to be more evergreen and less an in-the-moment response to news of Warren’s loss; the core ideas are the same.
Grieving Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy
Many women in this country are experiencing a thunderous, aching grief as they process the news that Elizabeth Warren is not going to be the Democratic nominee. Their heartbreak comes from allowing themselves to imagine yet another astonishingly talented female leader in the White House, only to see that dream crushed, with two white, male candidates left standing.
Writer and mother. On a mission to fill the world with stories that tell the truth about women—and with women who tell their stories.