Essays

Cosmonauts Avenue: This is Not a Picture of Me Naked

When I walk into a restaurant, alone, I have to do some heavy scoping before I choose a seat. A table that’s up against a single wall is okay, but a corner table is better. If the only tables available are ones in the middle of the floor, exposed on all sides, then I will […]

Tin House: Transactions

When I was twenty-two and single, I worked behind the counter at a bakery. Customers would point at pastries in a case, and I would hand them those pastries, my hand sheathed in a thin vinyl glove. Sometimes they pointed at a particular pastry—the biggest cinnamon roll, for instance, or the darkest croissant—and I would […]

The Offing: A Menagerie of Strays

My partner trails me up the hill, both of us weighed down with sacks of groceries, the plastic handles pressing into the flesh of our palms. We are halfway home when I see it: a blur of black fur skittering across the driveway and into the hedge. The thing is wounded — I can tell […]

Mutha: A Village Made Our Family

When my partner and I talked about making a baby, we agreed on most things. We agreed that I would carry it, and that we’d give it her last name. We agreed that the baby would sleep next to our bed and that both of us would answer to ‘Mom’. But we disagreed about sperm. […]

Brain, Child: Conversations With My Son About Gender

When my son was three, as he sat at the kitchen table playing with his Etch-a-Sketch, he offhandedly asked me the following question: “When Mommy Kellie was a little boy, did she have an Etch-a-Sketch too?” Read the rest here.

Brain, Child: Learning to See All Families

I was four months pregnant when a colleague sat next to a close friend of mine at a dinner party. Apparently, the colleague knew about my sexual orientation, but hadn’t heard my news, and so when my friend informed her that I was expecting my first child, she looked startled. “How in the world do […]

The Washington Post: We’re Not Numb; We’re Desperate

On Thursday, in response to the tragedy at Umpqua Community College, President Obama gave a speech in which he claimed that Americans have become “numb” to the violence of mass shootings. I am a parent to two young children who also teaches at a community college three hundred miles north of Roseburg, and for the […]

The New York Times: Teaching Children to Love Bees, Not Fear Them

Several years ago, reports of the declining bee population inspired my partner to keep bees in our yard. Her reasons were mainly practical—not only did she want to support the vanishing bees, she hoped our plum trees might increase their yield. But it took less than one season for my partner to fall in love, […]