Browse By

Bad Habits

* A.L. Major *

Despite knowing how horrible my bad habits are I have the most difficulty breaking them. Why don’t I unplug my Internet and concentrate? Why don’t I just stop watching Scandal? I DON’T KNOW. In writing this blog post, I asked my friends—writers and non-writers alike—about their bad habits, and, not surprisingly, many of them face the same problems as I do. No matter what the bad habit—leavings tasks until the last possible minute, smoking when nervous, over-checking Facebook—each person I spoke to was aware of the bad habit, felt miserably guilty about it, but seemed hopelessly unable to stop. “Phew. I’m not the only one,” I said to myself. I’m not the only suffering from this throat-clogging guilt—guilt for not being better, for not being more dedicated, for not writing this blog post earlier, etc. Every day I feel weighed down by this guilt, and I don’t know what to do with it. In writing this post, I tried to identify what it is about my bad habits I find so flummoxing. How can I be so self-aware yet so unable to stop? Am I self-destructive? Self-combusting? If I hate feeling guilty why don’t I just stop doing the things that make me feel guilty? These are the kind of questions I ask myself at 4 am after wasting the entire day watching Project Runway episodes back-to-back. I don’t feel particularly self-destructive, but what do I know?

What’s in a Name?

* Zhanna Slor *

Because the government decided to shut down immediately after I got married, weeks later, I still haven’t been able to change my last name legally with the Social Security office. Right now, about half my accounts have one last name listed and the other half have a different one. I’m in total name limbo.

In Praise of Jo Ann Beard

* Claire Skinner *

I admit that I’m fifteen years late to the Jo Ann Beard party. Her first book, The Boys of My Youth, was published in 1998 to considerable fanfare. However, I’ve always been a firm believer in serendipity: books show up in a life at the right time and the right place. Maggie Nelson has written that “the truly important, original, and strange work does get recognized, does get found, by those who need to recognize it and find it.” (Even if it takes a while, I might add.)