The Bathtub

Staring up at it, it was just so white. You could almost smell that color. She squinted and pulled away her gaze. But she couldn’t escape the glare. The chrome on every crevice of every fixture, on every pull and knob and handle and inscrutable gadget, didn’t help, glowering as if they had impending and pressing things to say. Crossing her arms and holding each shoulder, she shrugged in obstinacy, but really she felt tiny in comparison to this gargantuan gorge of a bathtub. It looked like it hadn’t been used in ages, an old kind of new.

It was time to get ready for dinner.

A guest in someone’s house, and it was time to get ready for dinner.

Taking a step back, the walls only reached higher, the base widening and gleaning with prestige. Continue reading “The Bathtub”

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The Trouble with Transgender: Storytelling

The June 9th edition of Time magazine featured a fierce Laverne Cox on the cover with a declaration of trans issues as “America’s next civil rights frontier.”

Borderlands are not typically spaces free of conflict.

On Tuesday, May 20, two transgender women were verbally and physically attacked while riding the MARTA train in Atlanta. The attack was caught on tape, and onlookers can be heard cheering on the altercation.

The two women describe being followed by a group of men at the Five Points MARTA: “They were trying to find out if we are men or women,” said Tyra Woods. “I shouldn’t have to disclose who I am to an innocent person who I’m not even interested in talking to.”

As it turns out, a trans person walking on the street always seems to owe the rest of the world a story, words that juggle clumsy pronouns, words put on trial. Continue reading “The Trouble with Transgender: Storytelling”

A Bed in Bath and Beyond

I pulled up to the house in a cab at about 10:30 PM. My original plan had been to walk, since cabs cost money. It is, however, one thing to imagine one’s self taking a leisurely, Pinterest-worthy stroll through a thicket of clearly-marked streets from the train station at dusk, and quite another to trudge several miles in the dark with luggage and no sense of direction whatsoever upon which to rely. (Cab it was!)

Wobbling on the cobblestone road, my behemoth suitcase, affectionately nicknamed “Big Red” by those in my family who wouldn’t be caught dead with it, stood no chance of rolling. Mustering all my strength, I hoisted it up onto the sidewalk and gazed up at the towering stone building in front of me. The number matched the one I had jotted down back when my phone had data, but it was the house next to it that bore a proper Bed & Breakfast sign.

Of course, it did seem to be the case that these sorts of things never went off without a hitch, but one must trudge on with ideal in pocket nonetheless.

I went ahead and rang the doorbell and waited the expected minute or so. Thinking perhaps it was out of order, I knocked, trying to strike a balance somewhere between “I’m barely on the other side” and “I’ve come to arrest you.” Continue reading “A Bed in Bath and Beyond”

I Woke Up Like a 17th Century Spanish Novelist: What Cervantes and Beyoncé Have in Common

A few days ago, when asked about the feminist debate surrounding Beyoncé’s BEYONCE, my thoughts turned to Cervantes and Don Quijote. Allow me to explain:

During my first semester of graduate school, my academic advisor did what my friends and I would later call “hablando tesis.” We use the term, which we made up, to describe the moment when you “say a mouthful,” or rather, arrive at a concise, poignant insight about something.

Returning to the class, we were studying on Don Quijote in a seminar class, and, as academics are want to do, assessing its intersectional political promise. Was this novel feminist? Was this novel racist? Was this novel sizeist?

Well, it was certainly a pain to lug around, but that’s not what “sizeist” means.

Ever the cool, calm thinker, he had some words of tesis to impart on this subject. The problem with a great work of art is that often, moved as we are by its significance and profundity and humor and audacity, we start to want it to do everything.

Es que queremos TANTO del Quijote. Continue reading “I Woke Up Like a 17th Century Spanish Novelist: What Cervantes and Beyoncé Have in Common”