Tell the Kids I Love Them

A son left behind after his father’s suicide reflects on the life choices he’s made in an attempt to understand and considers how his father’s death has shaped not only him as a person but also his approach to life and parenthood.

Because of his illness, my father lost control of his body. But by killing himself, he regained control of it. In doing so, he took control of his fate, which changed my fate. Maybe that was how it was supposed to be all along. I often wonder if his death was meant to be—if everything that came after it depended on his suicide, including my decisions to become a journalist, to head off to war, to teach others about what I have learned, and to become a father.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jun 1, 2022
Length: 14 minutes (3,695 words)

Can’t You See that I’m Lonely?

“‘Rescue Me’ on repeat.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Dec 7, 2021
Length: 27 minutes (6,800 words)

Dollhouse of Horrors

“I don’t control anything in the real world. But in my dollhouse, I own everything. I make the horrors happen. I am the one.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Aug 31, 2021
Length: 19 minutes (4,784 words)

Where I Was From

“Where I am from it is like this: We rebuild after hurricanes as it has always been done. We know we will do it again. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be: work without end.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jun 1, 2021
Length: 7 minutes (1,913 words)

La Cancion de la Nena

“He sits on the edge of the bed to compose and work through songs, facing an amp, while I curl into his velvet-lined guitar case and listen…I have called up this memory so many times I feel the gauze of fiction starting to overlay its details. But it is a memory so dear, I reanimate it against the heaviness of the present—my father, full of promise and possibility, years before the shell he would become, now shut away in my childhood bedroom in the graying light of ever-closed blinds.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Jun 1, 2021
Length: 27 minutes (6,937 words)

Everybody Knows You When You’re Down And Out

Amanda Petrusich on blueswoman Bessie Smith: “She got what she wanted by working hard at it, finding new ways to profit from a cultivated skill. Some of the notes she hits are so robust, so fixed and powerful, listening to them feels like walking directly into a sliding glass door. You are stunned and embarrassed, looking around to see who else saw. Her forcefulness just sneaks up like that.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Nov 10, 2020
Length: 15 minutes (3,914 words)

The Godmother of Soul

At Oxford American, as part of their Southern Music Issue, Rosanne Cash celebrates the life and career of electric guitar pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an American singer and guitarist who influenced Elvis, Keith Richards, and Johnny Cash. “She traveled the world and left it scorched with her fearlessness and musical originality, inspired fierce devotion from an audience who thrilled to her enormous gifts and her personal excesses, and shook the celestial rafters with the force of her artistic character.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Nov 10, 2020
Length: 6 minutes (1,629 words)

Back to the Land

Alice Driver shares the story of her dad’s wish to build his own tomb on his own land. “He wanted his death, like his life, to be a work of art—a tomb he designed and filled with ceramics—and one that would allow him to define death on his own terms.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Sep 25, 2020
Length: 7 minutes (1,914 words)

A Lesson in Acceptance

In Houston, Texas, Bryan Washington explores what it means to be a regular at a restaurant — and how this type of relationship has evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Oxford American
Published: Aug 17, 2020
Length: 10 minutes (2,540 words)

Underneath The Sweet Gum Tree

“Today, I venture proudly and safely into the straight world outside the confines of bars and clubs once designated specifically as ‘gay’ spaces. I can be free. This wouldn’t have been the case a generation ago.”

Source: Oxford American
Published: Aug 10, 2020
Length: 15 minutes (3,766 words)