NOTEBOOK FEATURE

Jenna Kahn author photo

Things American: Treatment vs. Healing

The nurse woke me at four-thirty in the morning to take my blood. Someone else had taken it less than six hours before, in the emergency room, but pointing that out seemed disrespectful because he was a nurse with years of schooling behind him, and I was just another suicidal senior in high school. After he left with five vials of my blood, and I was sufficiently drowsy, I rested fitfully until it was time for the morning devotional at six.

Wrapped in a beltless robe and wearing slip-resistant socks, I trudged to the room at the end of the hall to meet with the chaplain. As a former Mormon and current agnostic, I was skeptical of this process. But I was at a Catholic hospital, and I was hoping that attending every meeting and group therapy session would score me brownie points with the attending psychiatrist, and I would be able to go home sooner.[…]

Jenna Kahn author photo

Things American: Treatment vs. Healing

The nurse woke me at four-thirty in the morning to take my blood. Someone else had taken it less than six hours before, in the emergency room, but pointing that out seemed disrespectful because he was a nurse with years of schooling behind him, and I was just another suicidal senior in high school. After he left with five vials of my blood, and I was sufficiently drowsy, I rested fitfully until it was time for the morning devotional at six.

Wrapped in a beltless robe and wearing slip-resistant socks, I trudged to the room at the end of the hall to meet with the chaplain. As a former Mormon and current agnostic, I was skeptical of this process. But I was at a Catholic hospital, and I was hoping that attending every meeting and group therapy session would score me brownie points with the attending psychiatrist, and I would be able to go home sooner.[…]

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Web Exclusive Interview: Heather Wells Peterson

In our August web exclusive story, “Gorman, CA,” a couple’s car runs out of fuel on the side of the road in a land that is foreign to them both. Heather Wells Peterson indicates lack throughout the landscape and the action as a skilled painter would, in the wilt of the odometer’s needle, in the drought-stricken hills, in the protagonist’s silence. It’s one of those subtle revelations that’s so sublime in short fiction […]

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Web Exclusive Interview: Rose Gowen

July’s web exclusive story, “The Sun and the Pacific, Flowers,” is both a beautiful meditation on the passage of time and a careful, close look at a young person’s anxiety that she’s not doing or being quite enough. Writer Rose Gowen’s images and sensory details are stunning; the story is brimming over with oleander and hibiscus, rosemary, agave, palms, and citrus trees. The smells and sounds of the Santa Barbara coast […]

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Every Notebook, Photograph, and Letter: An Interview with Jan Ellison

Jan Ellison’s debut novel, A Small Indiscretion, came out in paperback this spring. The book takes readers across decades and continents—from Berkeley to London and back again—to show us what happens to a happily married mother of three when the mistakes and youthful transgressions of years past unexpectedly turn up to meddle […]

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Bourbon and Milk: Slow but Steady-ish

I confess, I get a little impatient when I hear graduate students with teaching assistantships—that is, students who not only aren’t paying tuition but who are being paid—say they don’t have time to write. Which is not to say that I didn’t feel exactly the same way when I was a graduate student with a teaching assistantship. But what I want to tell them now is, if they’ll only be able to write once they finish their coursework […]

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