Personal Essays

Building a personal canon of holy texts

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Throughout my life, I’ve been collecting literature, poetry, and essays that shape my worldview. This personal canon is not carved into stone, but rather it’s fluid, evolving. For myself, I declare these texts important, and so, for me, they are.

From Preachy
On September 20, 2021
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The Death of a Cat

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Before I left home, my daughter packed the bag with food, snacks, a picture she’d colored in the car and a stuffed blue “Pete the Cat” doll. My wife told her to do this as a way to comfort Dodge, our cat, while she went to the vet.

From Popula
On September 16, 2021
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THE DOWNWARD FACING CAT

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A few weeks ago I spent a weekend in the South of France and I felt socially obliged to learn how to surf

From Awry
On September 10, 2021
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SAGRADAS: A TEXAS STORY

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“They just don’t know…I talked to God about, you know, about what happened,” she sobbed. “It wasn’t an easy choice. People just, they hate you for it, like, the ones that protest outside Hilltop, they don’t know what it’s like, or why. I did what I had to do, dude,” she cried. “Only you know why.”

From Tasteful Rude
On September 9, 2021
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How Mehndi Helped Me Embrace My South Asian Roots During the Pandemic

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I started hating this tradition. In doing so, I ran from myself, more worried about whether my authentic self was acceptable. I would make faces and moan about how annoying the process of applying and removing Mehndi is – just like my British friends do now – while also secretly loving how beautiful and elegant my hands looked.

From Preachy
On August 30, 2021
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Redreaming the Sound

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What does it mean to trace the trajectory of one’s life through old records and albums? It is not new. Humanity owes gratitude to the ingenuity of artistes, their sound, or perhaps the science of sound and human cognition—for this otherworldly phenomenon.

From Olongo Africa
On August 26, 2021
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The Holy Hair Wrangles

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The women in my church took their fashion style from 1 Timothy 2:9: “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes…” This verse had been used to admonish us, over and over. So much so that I only wore small studs in my ears during weekdays while going to work and removed them when attending church on Saturdays. My only visible sin was my plaited, uncovered hair.

From Preachy
On August 23, 2021
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Some Personal News

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Over the decade-plus when I made my income mostly through online writing—here and there were a few short-term gigs, like P.A. work on commercials and odd-jobs like writing entrance exams for rich people trying to get their three-year-olds into illustrious pre-K schools—there was always the lingering idea that as long as I stayed afloat, it’d all work out.

From Popula
On August 13, 2021
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Loss For Words: A Meditation on the Ubiquity of Bizarre Corporate Language

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An entire, incredibly lucrative subsection of San Francisco was obsessed with its own specialness, obsessed with its own branding, obsessed with rhizomatically repopulating the place with the wealthy and the connected and the well-named and the delicious and the glossy and the expensive and the beautifully off-kilter and the minimalist and the carefully plated and the monetized history and sun sliding down over the ocean and the fig trees.

From Popula
On July 20, 2021
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Public High School Turned Me into An Agnostic

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I remember feeling as if my worldview expanded dramatically after leaving the bubble of private Catholic school. In public school, I met people of all backgrounds and was introduced to atheism, agnosticism, and evolution. My new friends influenced me to break the rules and challenge the norm in several areas of my life. I preferred what I found there.

From Preachy
On July 19, 2021
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Closer to the Nursing Home

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Is this the last magazine I'll read before I die?

From Popula
On July 8, 2021
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The Last Dirty Picture Show

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A love letter to the Tiki Adult Theater: "When it’s gone, where will all these lost souls go?" While Los Angeles used to be a hot spot for smut shacks, the Tiki is now the last show in town — the Studs, née Pussycat, Theater down Santa Monica Boulevard was, for years, the only other holdout, but no longer plays skin flicks. The Tiki, however, continues, in spite of it all, to screen three “very recent” ones on an endless loop, operating 24 hours a day. Time is purchased in four, eight, and 12-hour blocks; bottles of poppers, the only concessions, are sold at the box office for $20.

From Popula
On July 5, 2021
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POCAS PERO LOCAS, EPISODE 3: “WASSUP, M’IJA?”

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After a gang unit stopped my 14 year old cousin for driving in a stolen hoopty, they took her to Eastlake Juvenile Hall and handed her over to a new abuser: a cop. This series is published in weekly installments and you are about to begin EPISODE III.

From Tasteful Rude
On June 1, 2021
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