Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here


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In praise of trees.

Trees are also hosts for every other form of life. Their roots chew up the very crust, a process aided by microbes, and in doing so, trees remake continents. Their bark harbors fungus and lichen. Their branches and leaves shelter and feed insects, birds and mammals. Even now, when humans are capable of building machines that fly to Mars, we still use trees for shelter. We also cut them down and burn them for warmth. Some of us cut them down and bring them inside and festoon them, for a form of psychic warmth that lasts a few weeks and is the only reason I can tolerate December.

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Rebecca Boyle — The Last Word on Nothing

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WHAT WE WRITE ABOUT WHEN WE’RE NOT WRITING


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Well, I make to do list to make another to do list which will be a better to do list.

When you’re not writing, you encourage your writerly friends — the members of your tribe, as another friend puts it — in text messages, notes and emails, and in small packages mailed from the post office. You send links and stories and memes that you think will somehow make all of this better for them. You tell your friends that they are beautiful and brave and talented. All of this is true. You lend them books, and write notes on Post-Its and affix them to the covers. You sign notes to them, with hearts and kisses and hugs and exclamation points for emphasis. Because this will happen! You say. You will be published! You will do this! You quietly envy their abilities at times, and love them even more so for the very same gifts that they possess.

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Kathleen Harris — Vela

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“I need more time”: Weighing the Option of Egg Freezing


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Is this the right time?

I’ll go through the egg-freezing treatment, pumped with hormones each day, and feel like a living balloon, completely empty inside and so bloated I can barely move, but the procedure will give me the chance of maybe, one day, having a child, the act that gives so many people a sense of true purpose and meaning. Yet through the growing of eggs in my body and the sacrifices I’ll make just in those short ten days—unable to work or write, run or travel, all the things that I’m learning bring me real joy—I will realize, when I’m completely alone, staring back at my own reflection, that I’m just not sure that’s the purpose I want.

I need more time.

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Emily Smith — Catapult

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From prison to PhD


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A real life feat of rehabilitation.

In a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation, Jones, now 45, became a published scholar of American history while behind bars, and presented her work by videoconference to historians’ conclaves and the Indiana General Assembly. With no internet access and a prison library that skewed toward romance novels, she led a team of inmates that pored through reams of photocopied documents from the state archives to produce the Indiana Historical Society’s best research project last year. As prisoner No. 970554, Jones also wrote several dance compositions and historical plays, one of which is slated to open at an Indianapolis theater in December.

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The Marshall Project

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The Moon, the World, the Dream


No doubt, having trophy wives, fancy cars, and other cliché trappings of midlife crises are not themselves what aging sufferers seek so much as seeing themselves with the wives and the cars; discovering what they themselves are like under these new and different circumstances; finding out at last, in this big, endlessly mystifying world, who they are. By shaking things up and seeing what remains in place, we hope to discover what in us is permanent, and what we’ve merely never bothered to toss away. If that is the real question, maybe I found part of the answer as a small boy. In a moment when the world around me suddenly seemed as scary, crazy, and unpredictable as any movie, as ill-intentioned as any conspiracy, as unfathomable as any dream, I went running toward my family, and I wanted to describe what I’d seen. At the moment when a long-standing mystery was introduced, a small area of darkness turned to light.

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Clifford Thompson — The Threepenny Review

I Was a 9-Year-Old Playboy Bunny


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A nice weekend read from Longreads.

As a child, my intuition told me my body possessed power. But over time, the world convinced me that this power was not mine to control. That my central worth was contained in the perfect arch of my back, the just-so curve of my hips, the discrete cock of my neck and my silent, wide-open mouth. There’s a price for crossing the line between sexuality and sexualization, a debt little girls can never afford.

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Shannon Lell — Longreads

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The Contagion of Euthanasia and the Corruption of Compassion


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Is euthanasia compassionate in some cases?

Humans do not live in isolation. The more our culture sends messages that some lives are less valuable than others, the more some people will internalize messages to end their lives. A psychological contagion of suicide is unleashed by euthanasia and assisted suicide laws. Condoning suicide in one circumstance implicitly condones it across the board. The wrong of suicide is no longer absolute: death is made a reasonable—even the expected—response to pain, misfortune, and sadness.

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Arthur Goldberg & ShimonCowen — Public Discourse

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