Category: memoir

“Your commitment to survival is more than a notion; it’s a balm, an affirmation, an eternal love note, and a sacred love manifestation that starts as a whisper and rises into the atmosphere. How to be Alone gave me closure. What a gift it is to know that there’s another person in the world who’s so brave […]

I do a lot of talking to my students and others these days about the importance of being specific in writing and in life. One of the things that’s hardest for me to be specific about, both in terms of cultivating self-compassion around the trauma it brings up to write about it, but also the […]

Remember how I said I was having a busy summer, writing all the things? I *was* writing all the things. But I was also revisiting some of the really fun days of my youth by working as Camp Storyteller at Sababa Beachaway in its inaugural season at Old Dominion University. I wrote about it on […]

The spring before I left the Bronx to go to boarding school, to accept a scholarship that would change the entire trajectory of my life, I had an abortion. I was 15. I was raised a devout Catholic; I’ve always been a deeply spiritual person. But I also had been so desperately lonely for such […]

June 25th should be Tamir Rice’s birthday, but he was killed in 2014 by police officers who thought he was grown, they said. I have read accounts that say the call to 911 was from someone who said she thought she saw an adult. He was 12. Tamir’s mother held a Sweet Sixteen party for […]

I self-published my memoir The Beautiful Darkness: A Handbook for Orphans in October 2016 after spending more than 20 years working on one version of the story or another. The book’s name comes from two sources. The concept of being an orphan, particular in the Black community, may seem jarring. We are, after all, known […]

Dear Mom: It has been five years since we said goodbye, that word you hate, the one that still gets stuck in my throat. There are days when it feels like it was last week and days when it feels like a decade has gone by. This is, usually, a season of joy and reclamation, […]

Winter is one of my favorite seasons, and I really want to like Christmas, but it’s complicated by the fact that my mother died during this season five years ago. Even before she fell ill with terminal cervical cancer, the holidays have always been challenging, and I’ve never been particularly good at knowing how to […]