March 14, 2016

For almost a week, I've been feeding a stray dog that I'm calling Cleo. I first saw Cleo from the bedroom window. She was standing in the middle of a patchy sunlit clearing, an empty lot beside my parents' condo. White with large brown spots, she reminded me of a skinn...

October 5, 2015

Today marks the start of our last week in Maine, and I'm already feeling nostalgic for a trip that hasn't finished. After next week, Maine won't be a dream or a joke or a myth; it'll be a word wrapped tightly around memories of my mom and I building a closeness that we...

September 24, 2015

Maine has a sort of mythology in my family. "You just have to go to Maine!" I can hear my dad saying back when I was in high school, maybe even younger. "I'm telling you. If you go to Maine, you'll write a bestseller."

I don't know where he got that idea. I assume he sa...

September 9, 2015

First, if you haven't met Nanny, read this

Year 1: You have to be careful not to drink too much: at the dive bar after workshop, ordering gin and soda; watching Mad Men with glasses of blueberry juice and vodka; sitting around the wooden breakfast table with friends,...

July 31, 2015

There was a time in college when I told my mother that if I were deadshe'd hear about it,so could she please stop calling all my friends--I was fine, it wasfinalsweek, I had told her about this! She'd been calling me for days, and I'd been either missing her calls or i...

July 30, 2015

Since returning from Hawaii three weeks ago, I've been asked one question more than any other: Are you going to change your name? Family, friends, even Adrian have been curious about whether and when I'll go from Gutierrez to Collins.

After our first wedding in Vegas la...

September 5, 2014

The things I will never know about Nanny break my heart. What were her parents’ names? Did she live with them until she got married? Did she have brothers or sisters? She was poor, I know; she told me a story once, standing at the kitchen sink, of how she had to pin a...

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