Natalie Lima recounts relapsing during the pandemic, halting two years of sobriety with cheap vodka in “less than the length of a song.” At Catapult, she shares the winding path of her recovery and what she missed most during her seven-month relapse.
What I missed most, during this relapse, was my writing practice—a pursuit that has become an integral part of my life, my identity, my joy. And, unlike Cheever and Hemingway, I do not write when I’m drunk. My magnum opus will never be written on a napkin at a dive bar, after I’ve lost the love of my life and have drank all my money away.
I’ve learned that I can only write when my life is peaceful—when my bills are paid, when I’m not aching over a romance, when my life is quiet. Frankly, I can only write when my life is a bit boring. I now yearn for boring. It’s the quiet of living sober that stirs my creativity and fills up my life again.
The creative community in Columbus, Ohio has already given us poet-essayists like Hanif Abdurraqib and Scott Woods. But this unblinking essay about our country’s ugliest cycle was my introduction to Starr Davis, and I’m thankful for it. The wizardry of the Midwest’s secret oasis continues.
I know someone who makes fake pay stubs. They can take the numbers on my time sheet and turn them upside down, flip around my hours so the welfare office believes I’m barely working. I was tempted to walk out and call them but something had my sandals stuck to the floor. We pull rabbits from hats is what my mom always said. Having learned other ways to get money—the swift flip of an open leg or telling a sweet lie to a thirsting man—we never stayed down long. But now I had a newborn baby. So new she still smelled like hospital linen.
A short poignant essay from Thao Thai about coyotes, a neighborhood Facebook HOA group, belonging, migration, and the immigrant experience.
Coyotes are known to claim territories for their families, even unconventional ones like bustling downtown streets in Chicago. Like me, coyotes blossom in familiarity. I admire their resilience, but I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it to go outside one’s circle, to migrate to an unwelcome place. Of course, they have no choice. They are driven to roam where the food and comfort beckons.
“It is a strange sort of alienation, when you make the life-changing decision to return home, only to suspect that you no longer belong.”
“When I think about the time before I ever uttered the words ‘I am a lesbian,’ I don’t think about a closet. I think about a costume trunk.”
“I am always an immigrant, never an expatriate. As an immigrant, to even visit a country, you must prove not just your legality, but your worth.”
“Science provides me with a vocabulary of illness, confirming what my body already knows: that it will never be the same.”
In The Karate Kid franchise, writes Beth Nguyen, “Mr. Miyagi is the perpetual foreigner who exists to serve the whiteness that surrounds him.”
“I am forced to live in a parallel world to the one I wanted to live in, where I could have been a physicist without also constantly being asked to speak on or attempt to compensate for the persistent racism of institutions.”