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ESSAY / A Woman in Pain / Julie Rea

The doctors there, probably tired of me and my opiate-related shenanigans, decided I needed to quit my medications cold turkey and admitted me to the hospital to monitor my detox. My hospital roommate had a gastrointestinal ailment involving continuous puking. Across the hall, an elderly woman screamed regularly. I spent about a week there, dope sick and tripping balls.

ESSAY / The SAT's Can Go Fuck Themselves / Marni Berger

Eventually, I experienced what should have been statistically obvious: that getting into an Ivy League school had been easier for me than it is for most people, and some people, even with help, just can’t make it, even if “making it” is unclearly defined; this means, if you are an artist, your inability to score well on the SAT’s could easily align your art, and your sense of authentic self-expression, with failure, or maybe worse, meaninglessness.

ESSAY / Started from Degrassi / Nikki San Pedro

Maybe if there was a Degrassi episode about Liberty getting injured on a school trip to the US and needing to get surgery before she could return back to Toronto, I could have been warned about how shitty it would be to have to pay out of pocket and would’ve remembered the importance of keeping my OHIP valid. Or at the very least—remember that it was possible to still seek help and pay out of pocket because my mental health was worth it. 

ESSAY / The Philosophy of Peter Pan / Alice Lavren

The author points out that unlike the children’s world, the world of grown-ups is strikingly unjust: “Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you to be yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but he will never afterwards be quite the same boy.” The transition to maturity is bitter. One gets betrayed. One gets broken. 

ESSAY / On Tumblr: An Almost Elegy / Nikki Barnhart

How did I feel in the fall of my freshman year of college? I was lonely and lost, but posting Richard Brautigan’s “Karma Repair Kit” (the memory of reading it in a dog-eared used paperback curled up on the floor of my college town bookstore coming back to me now) and an mp3 of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” (before I wore it down from playing it on loop that first Thanksgiving back home) articulate this better than my own words ever could, let me re-experience what exact type of lonely I was, and remind me how the loneliness was mixed with other things, like twinges of excitement at the sheer newness of the experience.

ESSAY / The Rules of Shipoopi / Christina Larocco

In pictures of “Shipoopi” from my high school’s production of The Music Man the previous spring, the other Pickalittle ladies and I—the matrons and moral arbiters of River City, Iowa—stand off to the side while the boys and girls dance. We’re very upset; the children have interrupted rehearsal for our tableau interpretation of “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”

ESSAY / Freezer Peanuts / Liyou Mesfin Libsekal

Of course, I brought it up to my mother, who was freezing milk and probably making the morning oatmeal with it. The confrontation led to the Great Freezer Fight of 2010, after which I refused to eat oatmeal, and my mother’s lasagna, on account of the frozen mozzarella. This fight would be repeated each time I needed something for a recipe and found that everything was frozen.

ESSAY / Ideation into Art / Bekah Steimel

Depression is a colony of termites laboring so silently and ardently until your dwelling is unlivable. Unlivable. They crawl over me while I like your posts about your vacation and the hilarious thing your toddler said. Unlivable. They creep inside of me as I listen for the tenth time about your tenth lover, and what size U-Haul you should rent. I am genuinely excited for you. Unlivable.

ESSAY / Time to Go, Grasshopper / Leah Mueller

I swiveled in my chair and gaped at the shadowy figure. Sure enough, it was my old idol, Kwai Chang Caine. He stood so close I could feel his breath on my right shoulder, though his gaze was fixed on the far wall. My voice burst from my chest before I could stop myself. “Hi David,” I said. “How was the concert?” 

ESSAY / Plato’s Cavemen Spoke English / Zuzanna Fiminska

I reasoned with myself: just because Brandon wasn’t taking afternoon French, Chinese, Arabic – any of the languages I now had to take as a second foreign language – it didn’t mean his real-life equivalent wasn’t. Surely, I thought, English native speakers were learning languages; it just wasn’t photogenic enough for TV.

ESSAY / Here for the Boos / Krissy Eliot

He explained that that the house was haunted by many ghosts, and each had a backstory that he’d surmised from communicating with them. One of these ghosts was Chloe, an abandoned child with an affinity for playing with a yellow bouncy ball, which she would move of her own accord. He tossed the yellow ball into the center of the circle and all of us stared at it, waiting. A few minutes passed.