In House

"In House" is a weekly column featuring trawlings and reflections from our editors.

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August 26, 2015

I have believed for a long time that I grew up in a landscape of beauty and heartache and have attached an almost embarrassing weight to my memories of bright autumn days and abandoned factories, open fields of dead crops lined with hay bales. These are the pure, imprudent emotions of young love, the rush of adolescent sentiment unimpeded by an adult’s self-restraint and judgment, but the nostalgia, I realize, has very little to do with anyone I knew or anything that happened when I lived in Pennsylvania.

August 24, 2015

Because New York is a place thats intrinsically unbelievable. Life clings on by a graying hairbreadth.
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August 19, 2015

The internet has allowed access to the biggest names database the world has known. For me, the web has unearthed people with my exact name, sometimes around my age, and sometimes with similar interests and pursuits—a variety of Melody Nixons I never dreamed existed.... We are Latina, Black, White, and Kiwi.

August 13, 2015

Daoud’s novel is political, but not a polemic. It’s a thoughtful and independent-minded work of literature that takes Camus’s work as the jumping-off place for a new creation, in the vein of Jean Rhys’s Wild Sargasso Sea or José Saramago’s The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.

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August 14, 2015

This was a place of tribute bands, ladies nights, and horseshoe pits. A place we visited any chance we had heading north or south, a place we returned to, the origin of memories and oft-repeated phrases overheard in the midst of one fantastic day or another.

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June 8, 2015

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The week of Freddie Gray’s funeral, after the rallies and the marches, after the west side ignites and the camera crews descend upon our city, the helicopters swarm in two clusters—one to the east side and one to the west, a steady thunking all-day-and-night stutter. It’s the sound of tension hovering—a sound that makes people stop on the sidewalks and stare up at the sky.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user AdmissionsQuest

May 27, 2015

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user AdmissionsQuest

North of the Bible Belt and east of the Borscht Belt lies the Boarding School Belt. Of the 300 or so boarding schools in the U.S., 120 are in the Northeast, what might be called the Eden of American education. You know, that magical place where Andover and Exeter lead inexorably to Yale and Harvard.

Every fall, parents from all over the world descend on the region for the Tour de Boarding Schools, a grueling épreuve that can require three or more rounds before a match is found. Some foreign kids go alone in hired cars, which has a 19th-century sound, though it reflects a very 21st century phenomenon, Asian parents’ determination to get their children a rigorous, English-language education.

April 27, 2015

We were on the small roads that sometimes turn gravel, sometimes dead end, when we found it. This was Vermont, about ten years ago, our first road trip together: a circuit of swimming holes, picnics, and stops for general store ice cream. We passed a series of “Take Back Vermont” signs. Somewhere along the way we came upon the man, who by all appearances seemed to be a Hare Krishna devotee, having a yard sale. It was here in the sunny warm greenness that we found THE PEOPLE’S CYCLOPEDIA OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE, WITH NUMEROUS APPENDIXES INVALUABLE FOR REFERENCE IN ALL DEPARTMENTS OF INDUSTRIAL LIFE. BROUGHT DOWN TO THE YEAR 1885.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Tom Gill

March 16, 2015

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Tom Gill

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore stretches along the southern tip of Lake Michigan in sixteen separate pieces—jagged, sharp-cornered patches of land that float in an industrial landscape of rail lines, factories, and tiny dilapidated homes. The official National Parks visitors’ map includes not just the usual hiking trails and bike paths, but also two steel mills, an electric company, and the machine-gutted inlets that make up the port of Indiana.  

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February 16, 2015

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Around this table we’d gather, cover it with food. In the end: scattered drippings and crumbs, bottles and glasses emptied or abandoned. A cat scavenging the remains.

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