Giving thanks

Inside her annual Halloween card, my grandma had included a little paper slip of the Thanksgiving Day schedule, carefully typed and bolded. Because my grandparents were planning to go to Florida over Christmas, they wouldn’t be hosting our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, and would instead double up on Thanksgiving. We’d eat Thanksgiving dinner at one … Continue reading

Skin writing

The needle carves into the skin. It stabs deep into those cutaneous layers you learned about in science class and lays the ink down. Bits of blood bubble up and out. First comes the awful sensation — a shard of glass dragging across you — then, the “why am I doing this?,” followed by the … Continue reading

EarthBound: A flying metal tube

EarthBound does not begin with a plane ride. This, to me, right now, is the one place where the game feels wrong. In 1995, a 10-year-old would have been able to get on an airplane alone. (I did, as a 10-year-old, and while I don’t remember specifically, chances are that I did as a 16-year-old … Continue reading

Family, the hard way

I have walked out of a film once in my life and sat through a great deal more that I probably shouldn’t have (Lady in the Water (2006) comes to mind). That one time occurred when a friend of mine, who was a fan of kung-fu films but lacked the healthy irony such fandom requires, … Continue reading

Cigarettes and coffee: cooking for my grandparents, part 2

(Continued from Part 1) I was anxious, drinking hot coffee, and sweating over a stove in 90-degree weather, but apparently alcohol was the answer. A door slammed in the driveway. My grandparents were 20 minutes early. My grandma came into the room with multiple trays of homemade desserts. We all could’ve had a had a … Continue reading

Cigarettes and coffee: cooking for my grandparents

I’m staying at home in Michigan for a few weeks before I move to California. Everyone, especially my mom, seems convinced that I’m leaving for a faraway land from which I’ll never return. Every time I leave the house I expect to see my mother waving at me from the doorway with a white handkerchief. … Continue reading

Magic is real, if you want it

Ladies and gentlemen, witches and wizards, boys and girls, this, is a love fest. This is the story of a girl falling for a book. Never before has the world known such unabashed devotion. If Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had a window I would have stood beneath it in the pouring rain tossing … Continue reading

The Macho Man vs. the family secrets

When I heard of the Macho Man’s passing, I felt the way I feel when I see one of those old, ugly and vanquished video stores tucked away in a strip mall.  Those video places look so sad sputtering into oblivion in the face of Netflix and fancy cable.  I remember how often I visited … Continue reading

Jack and the Duke

I first started listening to Jazz in 1993. Feels like a lifetime ago. I remember what I started listening to and the artists I chose to begin with. I can tell you that one of the artists I listened to was NOT Duke Ellington. I can’t explain why I didn’t start with Duke. As I … Continue reading

In which Miguel Cabrera breaks my motherfucking heart

“There’s no anger or animosity from us, your first reaction is for the person,” Avila said. “Millions of people have problems with alcohol and drugs. It’s something that can be overcome, but you need a lot of help.” —The Detroit News, February 18 Miguel Cabrera. Of all the strange ways life foreshadows itself, there’s this: … Continue reading