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“You Owe Me” Selected for 2012 Best American Essays

The children I write with die, no matter how much I love them, no matter how creative they are, no matter how many poems they have written, or how much they want to live. They die of diseases with unpronounceable names, of rhabdomyosarcoma or pilocytic astrocytoma, of cancers rarely heard of in the world at large, of cancers that are often cured once, but then turn up again somewhere else: in their lungs, their stomachs, their sinuses, their bones, their brains. While undergoing their own treatments, my students watch one friend after another lose legs, cough up blood, and enter a hospital room they never come out of again.

History as Art: Luke Fowler’s All Divided Selves

by Nicholas Johnson

Things are merging. New ideas and new art forms are arising out of the combination of elements. Video, sound, the past the present, documentary, biography, history, truth, opinion … In a time when so much more happens than one can possibly keep up with, an increasing number of artists are obsessed with looking back for something that we missed, records and documents of formative events that we missed out on.

Of Necessary Mangoes: Color Me Weird

by Gina Balibrera

Christy Turlington, 1990s supermodel and Salvadoran-American, may or may not be my prima. The connection has never been confirmed, and I’m not trying to say I’m as fly as Christy, but her mother’s maiden name, “Parker,” is an apellido shared by some of the members of my family in El Salvador, and she grew up near San Francisco, where I grew up, so it’s not inconceivable to imagine that some of her family came over to the US around the same time mine did, maybe even on the same boat. El Salvador is a small enough place that finding unknown relatives can be as easy as flipping through the phone book.

Annus Mirabilis

by Virginia Konchan

Emily Dickinson, autodidact par excellence, wrote a whopping 360 poems in 1862, in a small bedroom in Amherst, MA, in a home owned and inhabited by her father: it’s good to remember, in other words, that both organisms and people can thrive under inhospitable conditions.

Digital Artifacts

by Nicholas Johnson

Can you remember a time before the internet? bubblebyte.org is a London “based” online only gallery for a generation of artists who probably cannot. The work on display ranges from animated gifs and flash animations to creative use of html coding and embedded video. These artworks engage with the digital space and explore the possibilities of the internet as an artistic medium.