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Category: Writing Life

Nightmare In Bucharest

Most moms of young kids I’ve known can be divided into two groups: baby moms and toddler moms. Toddler moms find the baby days the most stressful, because you can’t talk to a baby and figure out what it wants. Baby moms are the exact opposite. I was definitely a baby mom. I stayed home with both my daughters for the first year (possible because of Elterngeld—thanks German government!). To me, they were both like very intense pets you constantly pamper and carry around with you. Figuring out what they needed and wanted was usually just a question of trial…

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Love Letter To My Phantom Reader

Dear Reader, This weekend, a street festival happened outside of our door called Karneval der Kulturen. If this sounds like fun, believe me it isn’t, especially when you live in the middle of the action. For us, Karneval der Kulturen means drunk tourists yelling under our window at one in the morning, it means hordes of teenagers in leis and beaded necklaces tossing back one five euro capirinha cocktail after another. For four long days, each morning, our street and sidewalk is covered in glittering shards of brown and green glass from broken beer bottles. Can you blame us for…


Poor Old Me

What am I anyway? A hair on the left hindleg of a microscopic mite, a single speck of plankton in an ocean upwelling fifteen miles long. No one, niemand, nada, nichts. Yes folks, welcome to my own private pity party, a regular nobody-likes-me-I-guess-I’ll-go-eat worms affair. Ach Rebeccah, why so glum? Dunno. Maybe it’s the birthday blues 71 days too early. Maybe it’s the eve of a Berlin winter, when it’s already dusk at 4:30 in the afternoon, when sleet and ice and snow are a daily affair, when the sun disappears behind an unmoving blanket of gray and won’t come back…

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Forever 35

When I was 35, I opened up an online vintage clothing store. Although I sold a lot of dirndls, I also had plenty of other stuff from the 40s to the early 80s. I could have easily found clothes from the later 80s and 90s and charged jacked up prices to hipsters the world over, but I just couldn’t do it. Why? Because a) selling a sweater I might have actually worn in the 7th grade felt very wrong and b) the 90s are vintage? Really?? I started running the shop in our apartment, but my husband soon started to complain about…


One Story Class Review: Become Your Own Best Editor

Years ago an old boyfriend told me a story about Flaubert and the comma which goes like this: Flaubert was editing the final copy of a story one morning. He had already revised the story many times, re-writing large sections of it. That morning he went through the story again and removed one comma, only one. Later he went for a walk in the garden, had lunch, called on friends but the whole time he was distracted. Should he really have taken out the comma? Just before dinner, he went to his desk and put it back in. The guy…

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