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On November 9, 1994 I was sexually assaulted. I still cannot say “rape” and I really do not know why – it’s hard for me to even type the word, forget about saying it. The word “Rape” feels so victimizing – that life happened to me, that I was powerless to avoid it – that I was at the mercy of someone else’s desire – that I did not have a voice.

It Seems Like Any Other Night

ESSAY<br>It Seems Like Any Other Night

It seems like any other night. My mother helps me put on my nightgown and tells me to brush my teeth and wash my face. I go into the beige bathroom with turquoise tiles and stand on a small chrome step covered in black ribbed plastic, rough on my soft bare toddler feet. I wash my face over the beige ceramic sink. I squeeze a glob of pale turquoise Crest from the aluminum tube onto my toothbrush and brush all my teeth back and forth until the foam builds up to overflowing. 



"Let's have a gay night," he said.

"A gay night?"

Of course, we didn't know what he meant. I was eight and my cousin, Terry was nine. We were staying the night with our great-aunt and our 19-year-old cousin, Larry, who lived with her. Larry was very handsome, and he could almost dunk a basketball, which went a long way with us. He also seemed to like hanging out with us. Earlier, Terry and I (who grew up in the same house) had been playing Army with him in our back yard. Larry was tall, lean, and dark-skinned. Looking back on it thirty years later, I'm surprised, and a bit upset that I remember him as being so attractive. 

New Identity

ESSAY<br>New Identity

I changed my name the day after my church confirmation. That Sunday, May 10, 1987, I stood in front of my church and vowed to reject the forces of evil and confessed Jesus Christ as my Savior. As I said, “I do” each time, I wanted to mean the words, but they rang false in my ears. I felt unworthy of God’s love and salvation. I was unclean. I said the words because it was what I was supposed to do. I felt like my entire life was living up to others’ expectations of me: my parents, my family, my teachers, my friends.     

Don’t Criticize What You Can’t Understand: Dylan's Nobel Prize
M.G. Poe

ESSAY<br>Don’t Criticize What You Can’t Understand: Dylan's Nobel Prize<br>M.G. Poe

Given the escalating, bitterly divided and mystifying socio-political climate in the United States right now, it is somehow fitting that rounding out the ambiguous and wholly controversial state of our present reality, the Swedish Academy has chosen to present the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature to the enigmatic, oft-times reclusive American folk-singer/songwriter, beat poet and novelist (yes, he has published!) Bob Dylan. It is the first time in the history of the award that it has been given to a pop musician for his body of work, begging us all, especially those of us in the literary world, to bend the arc of our moral universe toward redefining the boundaries of what is literature.

Why I Do Not Love Travel
Jennifer Koiter

The first time I got sick in India, I refused to believe that all I had was a case of common Delhi belly. I was certain something in my body had gone horribly wrong. The spasms of vomiting, the diarrhea, the waves of exhaustion that grounded me in my body and made it impossible to hold a thought in my head: how could all that come from a dollop of coconut chutney on my lunchtime dosa, or a plate of cut cucumbers at a five-star hotel, the one place where raw food is supposed to be safe?