remember the word “rape” being uttered in my sixth grade English class by a boy, followed by guffaws from his compatriots. I was confused: I had never heard that word, although I understood it viscerally.
The Handmaid’s Tale is informed by the Puritanical thread that still knits through American culture and Old Testament history of handmaids: Jacob, father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, in a story of betrayal and jealousy, marries his cousins Leah and Rachel, and in turn, Jacob is offered his wives’ handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah as surrogates—without their consent.
Best Potato Salad
In high school, looking good and dressing to fit in consumed my friends and me in ways we could only understand with the passage of time. Conformity, and being part of the right group was foolishly important to us. Along with that came beauty products: Dippity-do hair gel, fat hair curlers, bonnet-style hair dryers, […]
Fried Green Tomatoes
I wondered what movies these young women had seen that conjured up images of ladies in aprons, so I asked.
Weekly Cooking Column
I was a private cook when I was nineteen, I’ve catered parties, including making vats of Macaroni and Cheese for the Williams College Basketball Team.
Rounding the Dark Side of the Moon
Perspective is everything—the long view of an object, a peculiarity, or an experience eventually reveals its potency, affects, and consequences.
Today, amid the parades and family gatherings, I recall the many Memorial Day services I attended, often in churches and at cemeteries where clergy, local veterans, and officers from the VFW and the American Legion Post spoke about hometown heroes lost in past and current wars. I always think of my father on this day. […]
Where Do the Children Play?
Back then, we lived with the magic of play and exploration; lying under a backyard tree reading books, one after the other and the walking the mile to the library to borrow more books. We played marathon games of monopoly and sandlot baseball, or red rover.
A Speech by Robert Kennedy
“Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.”
Wisewomen and Trauma
My novel Stony Kill tells the story of a complicated family, opening with the revelation of a family secret—the tragic story of a long ago shooting. The protagonist Joss Ryckman, a thirty-something Brooklyn baker, copes with the mystery of this shooting— was it accidental or not? This revelation soon follows the sudden death of […]