Shirley Jackson and Me

Benjamin Dreyer on what happens when you get the chance to copy-edit your all-time favorite author.

Source: The Toast
Published: Aug 11, 2015
Length: 11 minutes (2,919 words)

Goodbye Without Leaving: On the Loss of a Friend

Molly Minturn on friendship and loss.

Source: The Toast
Published: Jul 7, 2015
Length: 13 minutes (3,266 words)

Perdition Days

Esmé Weijun Wang writing for The Toast on her experience with psychosis: “Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.”

Source: The Toast
Published: Jun 25, 2014
Length: 17 minutes (4,434 words)

‘His Career Will Be Absolutely Fine’

A molestation confession, and a family’s horrible response:

Your mother will try to turn the conversation from Dad’s A Pedophile to You’re A Bisexual. You will tell her that he used to sniff the insides of your underwear, she will say, “You’d know all about women’s underwear, wouldn’t you?” and there will be this deep pause before the insults start.

Communication with your mother will become extremely sparse, and will soon be relegated to birthdays and religious holidays. You will offer the briefest of written words and she will respond with oblique jokes about Kim Jong-un. She doesn’t have an email account of her own, so she will use your father’s email address to communicate with you. Every time his email address comes up in your inbox you almost shit your pants.

Author: L. Bear
Source: The Toast
Published: Apr 28, 2014
Length: 8 minutes (2,113 words)

Knight of the Swan

The writer discovers a family secret:

“The first time I heard about my father’s godfather was at a family dinner. We were in my grandmother’s dining room celebrating my father’s birthday. It was the usual ritual of slicing the cake with the silver triangle onto the square, flowered plates, passing each one to my grandmother to slowly scoop ice cream upon, like a queen giving her blessing. Along with that were the usual jokes about my father’s birth and therefore his peculiar place in the family–how he was ten years younger than his siblings, and really, if we are being honest, an accident.

“‘A damn good accident!’ my grandmother would say from the end of the table, the light from the chandelier gauzy on her cheekbones. And we would laugh. When I was eleven, I saw my aunt, my father’s sister, lean over to my mother and mutter, ‘And of course we all know about Bobby Putnam.'”

Source: The Toast
Published: Aug 16, 2013
Length: 13 minutes (3,307 words)