I worked in a restaurant with Mexicans and white guys. The Mexicans worked hard. They had wives and sweethearts back home and pictures of kids in their wallets. The young one, Roberto, always had a paperback book stuck in his back pocket. We stayed late to give him rides home so the local boys wouldn’t beat him up. We pretended we had … More the Mexicans
I wrote a novel based on eugenics, but my agent didn’t like it. Once she didn’t like it, I found that I didn’t either. I thought the backstory was more interesting than the front story. I thought the whole section that takes place when the protagonist lives with a male prostitute in New York … More targeted for elimination
Yesterday I heard about a man who stole a can of beer from a convenient store in Georgia and went to jail for a year. I heard the story of the shootings in Santa Barbara. I heard a school official saying we just can’t do anything. Australia did, you know, but no one talks about … More Not to be confused with the Middle Ages
To the black man in the blue van on the road when I was walking. This is an apology. I was walking and looking at the big houses. I was listening to a tape of a novel about a serial killer by the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø. I was thinking about being a white woman … More To the black man in the blue van on the road when I was walking
It’s Sunday, poetry day. This is from Sara Backer. INMATES I heard there was a fat skunk, all white, who waddled in the yard followed by two kits the men called babies. I heard about a pair of chipmunks and raccoons that hung around the kitchen. A hummingbird appeared one morning, a gray-tailed hawk at … More Inmates
Can hate become a habit? Do I always need someone to hate? My former boss was hired to talk to teachers about what it means to be white. Somebody paid her for this. I thought she should instead have given a talk about what it means to be a sociopath.
I recently visited my mother who lives not far from Beardstown, Illinois. Beardstown is the town I model Palmyra after in my first book. My mother still cannot understand why people in the town are not more enthusiastic about that book. My book is a little mean about the town. It neglects the kindnesses you … More everything is not going to hell, or going to Mass with my mother
> Tonight we went to a vigil to show support for the Muslim community. It was a candlelight vigil, but I didn’t take a candle. I said to Chuck, candles make me feel weak, and he said he knew. Instead of candles, he said, it seemed like we should hold flares.
> Last night someone set a fire in the mosque near my house. Just to show that we can target innocent people too, I guess.
> When a woman risked her life to rescue Deogratias from a banana grove full of corpses during the genocide in Burundi, she told him Hutu or Tutsi didn’t matter to her. I’m a mother, she said. That’s my ethnicity.