Essays & Criticism
The New York Times Magazine
"Pop's Resident Sad Girl Considers Hope"
On Lana Del Rey: "She becomes, in essence, an extremely unlikely protest songwriter — not exactly calling anyone to arms, but trying to understand something, however haltingly, about how transformation begins."
Excerpt from Tonight I'm Someone Else: "I'm trying to document all the ways I angled toward the light and all the ways I leaned into shadows, every time I faced myself and every time I refused to look."
"Entering Heaven Alive"
On Hayley Silverman: "By engaging in these transitory states, Silverman effectively presents a US all her own: a country that demands inquiry, a world without expectations, a room filled with angels."
"To a Duck in the Garden of Ninfa"
For the Letter to a Stranger series: "If I write about myself, I should recognize my life. However, as soon as it’s written, my life goes elsewhere, it leaves me alone in the water. It looks for something better elsewhere, and I don’t blame it."
"Exploring the Italian Countryside"
On the workshop I teach in Italy: "At Mors Tua Vita Mea, we spend mornings workshopping essays and short stories—discussing what works, what doesn’t, where the piece might go next. A foreign place seems like the ideal location to have this conversation—I find a little disruption in routine can be helpful for unlocking new creative potential."
For the Unpublishable series: "I saw her lyrics as mythological, fantastical, other-worldly. It was the first time I really thought about what it means to make art from one’s life."
"What to Do"
For the Music Is My Boyfriend issue: "His eyes never pleaded, not even now, because they were the color of money and didn't need anything, not even me and my beautiful reaching hand. I could've stood there all day looking like art, but my pressure against his nose forced a clot, and then an end to the scene."
The Lifted Brow
"Lying in a Bed of Bee-Shaped Flowers"
On the Somebody app and the sensation of being watched: "One day, he packed up and began to leave, but paused halfway to the door and looked back at me—something he'd never done before. I stood still, focusing on him. The machines hummed around me."
"Your Voice, Saving Me"
On phone scams and lying: "I thought bad men were aware of bad things. I thought their vision was fine-tuned, I thought they could see bad things coming before I could. I thought they might protect me."
"People I Don't Talk to Anymore"
"When I got fired for showing up late, my best friend kept working there and complained every day about the new girl she had to work with. The series of complaints was so long and so specific that I considered it a kind of love."
Black Warrior Review
"She is so beautiful at seventeen that the doctors don't believe she's a virgin. Come on, they say, just admit it."