Do It Now

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Years ago, my mother was a beauty queen. Not metaphorically–she was Miss Niagara Falls and Miss Ottawa and twice runner-up to Miss Canada. As a kid, I spent hours leafing through her scrapbook, marveling at the full-coverage swimsuits of early-1960s Ontario and thinking how much young Mom looked like Grace Kelly. But my favorite of her titles was a small, local affair–not even really a pageant.

Winter 1965, the Ottawa Jaycees, a businessmen’s club (like Kiwanis or Rotary), wanted to combat seasonal unemployment by encouraging people to fix up their homes now. Instead of waiting for spring and better weather, get out there, buy some lumber, hire a contractor and get going! In the Ottawa newspaper, my mother wears snowpants and a parka, one foot on a shovel, surrounded by workmen. There’s a construction helmet perched on her beehive hairdo. The caption? “She’s Miss Do-It-Now.”

I’m pretty sure the kids…

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Blogging, Tweeting, Networking, and their Virtual Discontents

the AGNI blog

by Stephen Kessler

The Web is too much with us. Blogging and tweeting, Googling and Facebooking, we lay waste our powers—that’s why I’m writing this draft by hand in ink on paper, unplugged from any device but a roller gel pen whose brand I will not even name so as to remain unlinked from commercial clicks and animated ads and all the distractions of a pixilated screen.

The white paper with its faint gray lines is peaceful and passively inviting, not pulsating with the impatient rhythm of a black hole of self-expression demanding to be filled with endless blather. I don’t want to be part of the relentless assault on sensibility, the constant stream of so-called information and opinion and commentary and argument and images and likes and dislikes that constitute what passes for public discourse and community, a virtual conversation that might be better conducted in a café, between…

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Submitting

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz Dheepa R Maturi Bio PhotoBy Dheepa R. Maturi

Long ago, my grandmother peeled oranges for me — and by peeled, I mean stripped bare of rind, fascia, fibers and membranes until the bulbous cells underneath lay exposed and quivering. When I began to submit my writing to journals, I, too, felt stripped and offered for casual consumption.

I’d been writing my whole life, but in unpredictable bursts recorded on post-it notes and backs of shopping lists and even paper plates — little releases of a pressure cooker valve allowing me to function again when my throat felt too tight, my stomach, too constricted. And then, the pressure would rebuild.

The gradual movement of my writing from disposable dinnerware into computer files and a daily practice challenged and provoked me, but also allowed me to choose proactively where in my life and mind to dig and explore, where to shine light and hope as…

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2016’s 30 Most Transformative Essays

The Sundress Blog

Screenshot 2016-12-21 12.43.40.png

We asked our staff, editors, and authors to name the essays, published in 2016, that were most transformative and significant to them. The following essays represent a sampling of favorites.

We hope you find them as exciting, inspiring, and essential as we do.

A Tape Doesn’t Change a Goddamn Thing
by Karrie Higgins for Full Grown People

“I can no longer distinguish between the Trump campaign and sexual abuse. I can no longer distinguish between the past and the present.

just, adj:

based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.

just, adv:

barely, by a little; very recently, the immediate past

I can no longer distinguish between tattling on my hometown’s Jerry Sandusky and voting for Hillary.

I am going to talk to that reporter. I am going to name names. I am going to say what I want to say. I am going to let…

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After the Election: Create to Cope

The Manifesto

(this post originally appeared on The Gloria Sirens)

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

—Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

In the wake of the 2016 U.S. election—I was going to write “the election,” which has come to be capitalized in my circles, The Election like The Great Depression or The Moon, but then I remembered that people from other countries and, if I’m lucky, other times will read this post—I, like many of my friends, have struggled with my own depression and anxiety. It does not help that I already struggle with those issues, but I know several people who do not have a history with depression yet are having powerful emotional responses to The Election. The U.S. is likely to be led by a person who condoned hatred and violence during his campaign, whose misogyny and bigotry of all varieties is, unfortunately, being…

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