Nonfiction

“Catholic School Days: Heads up and on a Swivel,” John S. Walters

Jan 23rd, 2019 | By

I was born attached to the Catholic Church, with no avenue of escape and little chance of loosening its stranglehold, for my mother was no ordinary woman; she was a Polish woman; neither was she an ordinary Catholic; she was Polish Catholic. As surely as corn dogs harden the arteries, Polish Catholicism, as manifest in women of my mother’s generation,hardens the brain until it becomes impervious to reason.



“Weird Santa,” by Liyou Mesfin Libsekal

Dec 25th, 2018 | By

In my early twenties, I had a Franco-American boyfriend who, despite what his background might suggest, knew very little about the world. Once, he found a childhood picture of me sitting on a black Santa’s lap and almost gave himself an aneurism. I watched him convulse, all thirty two of his little brown teeth exposed, the vein on his temple threatening to pop over a man in a bad wig. A black Santa, the hilarity! I, of course, didn’t think it was weird at all. But then again, no one had a weirder Santa than my family. Our Weird Santa came year round, and he took cramped commercial flights instead of the usual herd of reindeer.



“The Lamb of God,” by Ali Kashkouli

Nov 28th, 2018 | By

Every child grows up and slowly acquires the knowledge of social norms within the particular society in which they are being raised. The immigrant child, however, faces the specific problem of trying to merge two conceptions of normalcy: that of their parents, and that of their peers. With these dichotomous views one can’t help but feel a little different. Much of this otherness stems from a variance in religion and the cultural rituals that sprout from it. And when it came to “otherness,” even at an early age I was well on my way to cornering the market. My personal exposure to basic Christian beliefs was so limited during my childhood that there was a time when I just thought “Christ” was a surname. I imagined the village mixers in Nazareth during his infancy…



“Someone Save Me From This Fresh Hell: My First Barre Class,” Brenna Donovan

Sep 26th, 2018 | By

I first encountered the new barre studio in my neighborhood as I was walking home after meeting my coworkers for drinks. The light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows and illuminating the crisp white walls and hardwood floors caught my attention right away. Suddenly I had flashbacks of my high school days as a pink leotard-clad ballet dancer, standing gracefully at the barre as I plied and pirouetted to my heart’s content.



“Let Me Fix Your Language, Germany,” by Robert McGee

Aug 15th, 2018 | By

Learning German is hard. For an English speaker, it’s nearly impossible to figure out why pizza is feminine unless it is an object. “Die Pizza—feminine subject—schemeckt fine,” but, “Kann ich ein Stuck von der Pizza—masculine object—haben?” I would like to think this happens because Germans are progressive, but I know that’s not true. Part of me knows it would be easier to remember if it were the other way around—masculine things become feminine when they are objects—but I hate that part of myself.



“Bend Over for Mama,” by Diane Callahan

Aug 8th, 2018 | By

Usually, I can escape unwanted situations with some degree of finesse. Other times, I am as graceful and articulate as a toddler, particularly when my mother is involved.

When my mom asked if I’d like a ten-session yoga pass for my birthday, I responded with a garbled, “Uhhh, not really, but thanks.” She interpreted this to mean “Yes, of course. I would be delighted to partake in mind-numbing torture at your fine training establishment.”



“Forget the P’s and Q’s: Mind your C’s and K’s, A Cautionary Note for Prospective Parents,” by John S. Walters

Jul 18th, 2018 | By

I am a lifelong liberal of good standing, with impeccable credentials. On one issue, however, I am an unabashed Goldwater conservative. If there’s one thing that raises my ancient hackles, it’s whenever I see the names Cathy and Casey defiled with a K. Why do parents of the newborn err so egregiously? Why favor the fraudulent over the authentic, particularly in matters of enduring importance?



“Spiritual B.O.,” by Claudia Fucigna

May 16th, 2018 | By

You might think patchouli, but that’s not what I mean. I mean spicy shoes left to fumigate by the door. Acrid plastic yoga mats made in China that will take Vedic ages of rebirth to break down in a landfill. Gluten-free soy candles blessed by Peruvian shamans that cost an arm and a leg. Burned sage sitting on top of a seven-layer dip of cologne created by human bodies in motion.



“I Should Listen to More Reggae,” by Diane Callahan

May 2nd, 2018 | By

I once pretended to be Jamaican for five minutes.

Considering the fact that I’m whiter than mozzarella and have lived in Ohio my entire life, this was no small feat.



“10 Ways Not to Like a Thing,” by Nolan Yard

Apr 11th, 2018 | By

1. Before you try not to like it, already make up your mind that you will not like it—this makes it so much easier.