Why Begin Anew?

If you hate New Year’s resolutions, blame the Babylonians. Allegedly, they are the ones who got us started on this whole season of self-reflection and renewal 4,000 years ago, although their resolutions took place in mid-March and focused on making promises to pagan gods, returning borrowed items to regular humans, and paying off debts. The […]

Board Games Bring Everyone Together

It was New Year’s Eve and not everyone wanted to play a board game. Not that the inevitable unpleasantness was the same every time we played. Things had evolved over the years, taken the shape of current relationships and power struggles within the immediate family. In the early days I equated board with bored—how many […]

The Catch-22 of Motherhood

At the close of 2018, I am almost finished reading Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, a book of “autotheory” that defies conventions and genre and meditates on what it means to create family, love, and a life beyond heteronormative blueprints. On this Friday evening, as I read, I hear distant waves crashing into the surf, my sleeping […]

The Forest of Happy New Year

A state highway in the south, two hours before dawn, the children asleep. Our headlights side-eye the ghostly-ghastly trees. There is the danger of deer. Making lists, to stay awake: The 400 names for types of forests. This one, which crowds the road through logging country, is called The Survivors Rallied. The Big Thicket, though […]

Revisiting 1923 in 2019

While some look forward to the New Year to make resolutions, say good riddance to 2018, or to clink glasses full of bubbly while wearing something sleek or sequined, I am looking forward to 2019 because a slew of landmark films, literature, songbooks, and art will enter the public domain. Such classic media will be […]

A Scottish Christmas, Twice Removed

Here it sits, the haggis, like some offal thing washed up from a distant land. Which it is, of course—a mix of chopped lamb’s liver, beef, oatmeal, suet, onion, bread crumbs, buttermilk, salt, pepper, and ground cloves, in a “beef or fibrous casing,” shipped frozen from the shores of south Florida. My in-laws, who immigrated […]

Grab ‘Em by the Stock Market

It is not a newsflash that Twitter, and the world more generally, can be a toxic place for women, especially women of color. Yet, when Amnesty International released its Troll Patrol Report on Tuesday, December 18, what many women already knew was confirmed by the extensive year-long study the human rights organization conducted in partnership […]

Being a Griswold at Christmas

What would make up for 35 years of dentists and mechanics chortling over my last name? I want to be fair and rational about this, so I suggest we just dig up John Hughes and use his thigh bone to beat out the tempo to the song for National Lampoon’s Vacation on his skull. Hughes, […]

Kehinde Wiley’s “Vocabulary of Dignity”

On this sunny, 55-degree Midwestern winter day, I made my way to luxuriate in Kehinde Wiley’s 11-painting exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum. I have followed Wiley’s work since 2010, when I first encountered one of his paintings in Louisville, Kentucky at 21c Museum Hotel. Morpheus, an oil and enamel painting in grand classical […]

Nailed It!

While some sick people comfort themselves with plenty of rest and fluids, when I caught my daughter’s eviscerating stomach bug this week, I consoled myself with episodes of Season 1 and 2 of the Netflix series, Nailed It! Sure, I could barely stand upright, keep my eyes open, or consume anything, but somehow watching (or […]