Samples


My work has appeared in places like Monkeybicycle, Front Porch, Columbia Journal of Arts and Letters, Switchback, dislocate, Paste, Bookslut, Bitch, Los Angeles Review of Books, Identity Theory, Rain Taxi, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Reader…

I’m currently at work on my first novel. You can get a taste of it here  and here

 

Curse of the Grandmother

“She poked a terribly hot and long, grime-covered finger under my t-shirt on the left side of my chest. “I do this for your own good,” she said. The pain was immediate and it sucked my air out. I drew breath hard and stumbled forward into her hammock, making the ropes groan and sigh. It left a heavy charcoal mark, and it was coated with some sort of oil that would take days to wash off. I took another shallow gasp of air and teetered backward. But MeeMaw was quite strong, and due to her wide, able hands, I righted myself despite the gnawing heat across my left breast.

“Now this is just the first part,” she said. “The second part is I need to tell you what,” she stopped and gasped suddenly for air. With a burning sensation upon my heart, I watched my MeeMaw turn parchment, suck in her last earthly breath, choke on it, and die.”

From Monkeybicycle

Dispatches from the Third Line

“I had boasted to my friends that while they developed carpal tunnel in their drab cubicles, working for The Man, I breathed in the city’s version of the outdoors through the windows of my very own government-issue Jeep Cherokee, which I drove proudly throughout the five boroughs, checking on a pool depth sign at Juniper North in Queens, or delivering a parking entrance sign at Henry Hudson Playground in the Bronx. Pizza parlor grease, river life thrashing upon docks somewhere, speck-sized smells from a bakery—molecules of New York City bobbed around my head on my daily jaunts…
But before all of this, I was re-named: Terrapin. 

in Front Porch

Your Breakup

No one with ugly hands owns a Sea Thistle-covered loveseat. You have ugly hands. You realized it on the day you moved in here, when you splayed them over the coiling flowered arm rests, and your ex-girlfriend’s sister-in-law pronounced it a great fit for a quaint bungalow, turned to you, and asked whether you had ever owned furniture this nice before. You will take care to hide your hands under the table on every dinner date for the next year, especially when it is hot outside and they are red and the veins pop out.

in Monkeybicycle

burn-novel
 

Looking for the Light

“In stories about illness and death, writers are sometimes tempted to romanticize the dying process, or, at the other extreme, to wallow in the frightening details of a body’s deterioration. Gore does neither. She includes just enough details about her mother’s physical illness to illustrate the prolonged pain and frustration of Eve’s slow death.”

in Los Angeles Review of Books

Learning Intimacy

“Despite her claim that the book will not instruct writers how to write intimate scenes, D’Erasmo’s discussion does provide a very generous demonstration of how one might process an image for a story and push past received stereotypes to find what is truly intimate about an image — basically providing writers with a how-to guide on avoiding banality.”

in Los Angeles Review of Books

The Outlaw State of Somalia

“Because the ICU encompassed a wide range of doctrine, from Sufi moderates to Salafist hardliners, says Fergusson, the post-9/11 Bush administration concluded, to be on the safe (or war eagle) side, that the ICU was the enemy. This gave the U.S. strange warlord bedfellows and led UN General Secretary Kofi Annan to criticize the move.

in Bookslut

The Metaphor Room

“Picture a seamstress pressing a thin, transparent sewing pattern onto a thick fold of fabric as she pushes straight pins along the perimeter of the pattern outline, skewering the fabric at the precise points where she’d need the outline of her cut to hold as she uses scissors to slice into her material. The cut-out will necessarily be a bit bulkier and heavier than the curvature of the original pattern. This is the best image I can come up with to describe how people try to know and feel close to one another in Dinaw Mengestu’s latest novel.”

in Bookslut

Words get memoirist Lidia Yuknavitch through a riptide life

“In the course of recounting her experiences as daughter, sister, championship swimmer, wife, lover, and artist—not necessarily in that order and with frequent doubling back and revisiting—Yuknavitch upends the language of our culture’s pat, commercialized narratives about abuse, addiction, self-destruction, promiscuity, domestic violence, and incest.”

in Chicago Reader

Beside the Sea

“Olmi wants us to understand mental illness beyond generalizations of “disturbed” or “depressed” and see the ways that a compulsive, catastrophic thought disorder perverts even the most human of instincts: that of a mother to care for her children. The triumph is that we see the humanity in this situation, even though we may not care deeply about the narrator as a person — she’s too far gone in her psychosis.”

Review in Bookslut