Blood Feast / The Rumpus

Blood Feast / The Rumpus

The latest installment of my column, Turning Purple, is up this week at The Rumpus. “Blood Feast” is centered around my time canvassing in Trump country and the roots of my activism. Check out the photos on Instagram.

“In every story I read to my class, the villains were my student’s uncle, who recognized me at a club, kissing a girl. At parent-teacher conferences the next week, the girl’s parents glared at me with their arms folded, finally shouting what are you teaching our daughter, without saying what they knew. I shook next to the principal, certain that I was about to be outed, arrested or fired. When that didn’t happen, I decided it was time for my third graders to learn about activism. I wanted to find out what mattered to eight-year-olds.”

– excerpt from Blood Feast, The Rumpus

A FINAL NOTE: On Tuesday night, the efforts of volunteers around the country paid off at the polls. If you’re looking for a therapeutic and easy way to get involved in the 2020 election, write to Postcards to Voters to join the party. #PostcardstoVoters

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New column at The Rumpus!

New column at The Rumpus!

I’m excited to share that the first installment of my new political column, TURNING PURPLE, is up at The Rumpus! I’m a longtime fan of The Rumpus and thrilled to be a part of the team. The Borderland is the first of many hot button election issues that I’ll cover between now and November 2020.

“The personal is political” is a phrase that was popularized by feminist Carol Hanisch in 1969, and this first installment is a walk through my own story as a border-dweller and the deep roots of this country’s dehumanizing immigration policies. Artist Dara Herman Zierlein’s vivid artwork captures the energy of the border crisis and the beauty of the desert.

Read it at The Rumpus.

“I just poured myself a big mug of mofo…” Read it on Instagram.

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New essay at Longreads: “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes”

New essay at Longreads: “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes”

I’m excited to share that my essay, “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes,” has been published and featured on Longreads. This is not an easy story to tell, but it’s time. Here’s an excerpt:

The roosters started at 4:30 in the pasture behind the inn. On the second crow, I rolled onto my back and blinked at the jalousie window’s slatted light, considering my first day at The Casa. We were allowed to ask three questions, no more. A visit with the world’s most famous “spiritual surgeon” was like going to see the wizard.

Mariana was silent in the twin bed next to me, the sleep falling in loose spirals across her face. I pulled back the sheets and slipped inside. “Bom dia.”

“Bom dia, meu amor.” A soft sound from a distant place.

Seven and a half years later, I receive a text from a friend in Rio: “Did you see the news?” She links to a New York Times article: “Celebrity Healer in Brazil Is Accused of Sexually Abusing Followers.”

@Longreads.com

Read it on Longreads and if my story speaks to you, I’d be grateful if you would share it on Twitter. Thanks so much for your support all these years – I’ve got more exciting writing and publishing news coming up soon!

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“SOMEDAY I’LL BE DEAD, AND THEN HOW WILL YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?”: A MOTHER/DAUGHTER CUSTOM-ENGRAVED BRACELET

“SOMEDAY I’LL BE DEAD, AND THEN HOW WILL YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?”: A MOTHER/DAUGHTER CUSTOM-ENGRAVED BRACELET

It’s not every day that you get to be published on McSweeney’s with a bestie.

Happy Mother’s Day!

S1:E4 “Pathétique”

S1:E4 “Pathétique”

Today the fourth episode of my ongoing series was published at Corporeal Clamor. I think of it as “Trumpian Gothic,” a love story for these strange times. I’ve woven classical music throughout, and Beethoven’s “Pathétique” is one of my favorites. I’ve included a recording of myself playing the Pathétique about halfway through the chapter, or you can watch the warm-up on Facebook.

Thanks for reading – I’ve been so appreciative of your enthusiasm for this series.

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven


 

We watch. The dog cocks a scraggy yellow ear behind him, listening for the door. Waiting, probably, for Tala to return. So we have this in common.

I kneel so slowly it’s hardly movement, but the dog drops his head and backs toward the front door, eyes locked on mine. Is it anger or fear? I don’t know dogs, and seeing as Tala has left him in my care, she doesn’t know me. I hold out my hand and his nostrils flare. He cranes his thick neck a few inches forward toward my fingers –

A muffled ring:

my body understands the sound before meaning registers, a hot surge through my arms. I shriek and the dog darts behind the couch. On the second ring, I turn and tear past piled papers and boxes and plates and books, pull the keyring from the side table drawer. On the third ring, I scramble with the tiny key, fiddle with the padlock on the door to the hidden cupboard beneath the stairs. The padlock pops, on the fourth ring, I throw open the door, duck and crawl, and as the fifth and final ring begins, I reach for the old yellow phone –

“Hello?”

Read S1E4 “Pathétique” here.


Publications

S1:E3 “Moonlight,” Corporeal Clamor

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment,” Corporeal Clamor

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

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LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

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S1:E3 “Moonlight”

S1:E3 “Moonlight”

I see now that it was a mistake. I saw it the moment she stepped through, that I was somehow both over and underprepared, and badly. Tala’s off duty look was unchanged from her service call uniform. Jeans, boots, vest, a blue and grey checked flannel, hair a dark halo around her shoulders. I chose a maroon skort for the occasion, thinking it would be ironic, but as she stood in the doorway, the corduroy chafed at my thighs. When I moved to take her vest, she shrugged it off and hung it on the coat rack herself.

Tala was the kind of girl I used to follow around at school, silently willing her to let me carry anything, literally anything, like a backup stick of gum – the girl who gave a half smile like she knew I was there but didn’t actually mind, nor would she strike up a conversation.

“Hey,” she said. She put her hands in her pockets, and grinned, and I saw that I had been staring.

“Please,” I mumbled, and gestured behind me. “Sit anywhere.”

She paused long enough for me to see what she saw, that the coffee table was a tiny island of sanity in this house, and the fact that I hadn’t been able to see that clearly for myself was only the beginning of what I missed. The books stacked high along the edges of the living room wall, the unopened mail, the layer of dust – these were all things that might have passed as eccentric, and that was fine, but the wine and candles seemed ridiculous, no, presumptuous, which was just –

“How’s the piano?” She stood at the piano, one hand on the lid, peering up at the gash in the ceiling. “Seems like you dodged a bullet.”

I flinched. “It’s fine.” Crossed my arms, fixed my eyes on the wall.

Read the third episode of my fiction series at Corporeal Clamor here.


Publications

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment,” Corporeal Clamor

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.