Big Week: Part II

When it comes to publishing, this week has been huge! Last Thursday, I had two essays go up. At VIDA, I wrote about my experience leading writing workshops when students write about triggering material–sexual assault and domestic violence. My essay, “Is there a Doctor in the Marriage?” was posted on the NYTimes Modern Love page the very same day.

And there’s more news!


In a new essay titled “The Public Is Us,” I wrote about the conflict between disease control and civil liberties at Guernica. Here’s an excerpt:

“By virtue of having bodies,” Eula Biss points out in her recent book On Immunity, humans are “dangerous.” Taking care of infectious individuals can be as much about limiting public risk as it as about recovery. When Barack Obama asked Congress for six million dollars to treat Ebola patients in November 2014, he emphasized the potential risk to Americans, rather than the current risk to West Africans. “Over the longer term,” he said, “my administration recognizes that the best way to prevent additional cases at home will be to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source in Africa.”

I also have an essay in the brand new anthology, A Manner of Being: Writers On Their Mentors.  The anthology includes essays by 67 writers, including George Saunders, Tobias Wolff, Tayari Jones, Henry Rollins, and Christine Schutt!


Publishers Weekly says:

In this inspiring anthology, 67 writers discuss the effect mentorship had—or didn’t have—on their work and lives. Parker explains in his introduction that he initially started looking for contributions in 2011, hoping to make sense of his experience studying under Arthur Flowers and George Saunders for his M.F.A. Saunders and Flowers are both included, writing about what they gained from their relationships with Douglas Unger and Tobias Wolff (Saunders’s mentors) and with John O. Killens (Flowers’s). Four writers discuss not having a mentor, whether due to missed opportunities or, in Paisley Rekdal’s case, by her own choice. Rekdal’s essay is one of the best, detailing the disappointment she felt overhearing professors and writers she admired dismissing minority writers as beneficiaries of white liberal guilt, and wondering whether similar comments had been made about her. Many writers describe a sense of family and even love, as in Henry Rollins’s piece about Hubert Selby Jr., and admiration and awe are present throughout. What the writers share of their mentors, and what their mentors shared with them, makes for a fascinating work on writing and the student-teacher relationship. (Dec.)

Most of the time writing requires intense solitude. It’s really fun to have a week like this where that solitude breaks and I can share the work I’ve writing in the big green armchair in my living room.