Latest news

Which one of these is not like the others?

I’m thrilled that my essay “Crash,” published last July in the beautiful literary magazine Under the Gum Tree, has been listed as a Notable in Best American Essays 2016.

The essay isn’t available online, but you can download a digital copy of the issue here. You can read a little bit about the story behind the essay here.

I told a version of this story at my mother’s memorial service in 2000. At the time, her  death felt very much like a car crash: quick, unexpected and violent. My dear friend Peggy Tagliarino came up to me afterwards and urged me to write the story. And so I did.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“The summer I was 26, my mother and I traveled together to the south of France. She was spending a week at the vacation home of friends on the French Riviera and had invited me to tag along. I thought perhaps I was a bit too old to still vacation with my mother, but since I couldn’t afford to take a European trip on my own, I jumped at the invitation.
Being asked to spend a week at someone’s home in France was the kind of thing that happened to my mother and never h

appened to me. I had spent most of my life suspecting she was cooler than me—she was Swedish, spoke seven languages and  was a successful fashion executive—but now the distinction seemed starker than ever. While I struggled with low-paying jobs, roommate dramas and small apartments, she was thriving. At 55, her marriage to my father over and my brother and I living on our own, she threw herself into her work and friends and traveled whenever she had the opportunity: white-water rafting in the Grand Canyon, biking through Eastern Europe, skiing in Utah. Her eclectic group of friends invited her everywhere, and I could understand why; she was affable, energetic and up for anything.”