Lhj Com Essay

I contemplate dinner and pull things out of the freezer, compare calendars with my husband, and hunt down missing shoes and jackets. My husband, Dan, looks up from his plate of spaghetti. For the next 7 days, I’ll drive you kids to school and back, and I’ll be here if somebody needs an ambulance, but otherwise everyone’s on their own.” Dan sighs. I’ll be like Jane Goodall watching her clan of chimps fight over the last banana.

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Speaking intimately about your personal life and experiences, especially the more shameful or intense, is akin to baring your belly to the beast.

Some submit such essays in full awareness that they’re likely to be attacked for it, sometimes viciously, sometimes choosing to write under pseudonyms — which would seem to suggest that people want to tell their stories even more than they want to be known for those stories.

Men who bare all are congratulated while women who do so are sneered at contemptuously, even by those who should know better.

I recently finished reading a piece of literary fiction purporting to tell the story of a marriage from two sides: that of the husband and that of the wife.

I run up and down the stairs between my office and the laundry room three times, but I still don’t have time to finish the laundry. I can start my strike with a clean house and a clear conscience.

At noon there’s still one load left in the dryer and another in the washer. I successfully stay in my office for the afternoon.

What, fundamentally, was the difference between the two?

I ask this question genuinely, as someone who was once heavily criticized for writing a piece about my own abortion that was deemed “too flippant” for the tastes of many readers because it didn’t adhere to traditional narratives about what abortion was supposed to look like — not least because it was written by someone who’s not a woman, about an experience many people associate very specifically with womanhood.

Maybe it was too early for the shift in attitudes about letting people tell their own abortion stories, whether they be proud, or regretful, or neutral, or sad or any number of other things.

Maybe there are more allowances given for the lack of nuance in 140 characters, a silent understanding that we can’t overburden writers with too many demands when they have such a limited space to write in.


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