On Eating Whatever I Want and Throwing Up A Lot

On Eating Whatever I Want and Throwing Up A Lot

I’m trying out Medium. I just posted a short essay there:

The stories start when I’m young, thinner than I think, but with jiggly thighs and a round belly, incontrovertible as my red hair and freckles. In flashes: the time that my mom told me to get “something sensible” from the pool snack bar, then fixed me with a look when she saw me tucking into an ice cream cone. When I think about that Drumstick, I feel the wet elastic of my swimsuit,like coils around my hips and thighs.The time that my cousin slept over, and we stayed up late watching movies and eating oranges. There’s nothing wrong with oranges, but we each put away more than half a dozen. I remember my mother’s face, again, nonplussed. My appetite was somehow inexplicable. When she’d leave the house to go for a run, I’d grab a handful of Club crackers and wrap them in a napkin, with a ready hiding place in case she came back early.

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LINK: A heartbreaking update to “The American Male at Age Ten”

LINK: A heartbreaking update to “The American Male at Age Ten”

Danielle Dreilinger writes a humanizing, empathetic portrait of a New Orleans child who has been shot twice and lost two relatives to violence. It serves as a heartbreaking update to “The American Male at Age Ten.”

Ka’Nard Allen, 10, does not want to talk about what must be the longest and hardest 10th year of life in all New Orleans. He doesn’t want to talk about Mother’s Day, when he was grazed by a bullet at a second line parade in New Orleans’ 7th Ward, one of 19 people injured in a mass shooting.

He doesn’t want to talk about October, when his father, 38-year-old Bernard Washington, was fatally stabbed in eastern New Orleans by his stepmother after Washington allegedly choked and beat her. She has been charged with manslaughter.

And he really doesn’t want to talk about his 10th birthday party last May 29, when his 5-year-old cousin, Briana Allen, was fatally shot and a bullet hit Ka’Nard in the neck. The man accused of shooting Briana was arrested last month and, last week, was among 15 people indicted on gang racketeering charges in that incident and many others.

Standing on the Simon Bolivar Avenue neutral ground Monday evening, across from his grandmother’s house where Briana was killed, Ka’Nard just wants to ride his shiny black four-wheeler, a gift from his mom after his dad’s death.

 

He wants an adult to start peeling an orange for him because he can’t get it started himself. He wants to dunk an empty juice bottle into a garbage can and launch high, elegant roundhouse kicks at the pail. He wants to get on that black four-wheeler and drive it off the grass speckled with broken glass, watching for traffic, circling on Simon Bolivar — fast. He’ll even give you a ride on the back.

LINK: Shipwrecked and Bring Your Own celebrate New Orleans stories and storytellers

LINK: Shipwrecked and Bring Your Own celebrate New Orleans stories and storytellers

I got to write about one of my favorite things, stories and storytellers, at NOLA.com this week.

Photo by Bryan Tarnowski, courtesy of Shipwrecked

Photo by Bryan Tarnowski, courtesy of Shipwrecked

Imagine a one-room church tucked into a quiet block. The outside is daffodil yellow. On a plain concrete driveway, members of the congregation line up before service. But this is an unorthodox type of church: some members mix gin and tonics standing on the sidewalk. Some stamp out cigarettes with their Mary Janes. Some know each other well enough to embrace, and some only smile shyly at the crowd. They are all here, though, for one reason. They all believe.

They are devoted to the power of story.

Sophie Johnson, one of the co-founders of Shipwrecked, calls the storytelling showcase a ­­”celebration of the human condition.” After attending several shows, and listening to many of the program’s podcasts and satellites, I’d wager that the 100 or so lucky people who cram into The New Movement on Sunday (May 12) would agree. And as with any good celebration, there will be cake.

And for the unlucky—can you imagine a church where you actually have to turn people away?—there is a salve. Each episode is recorded live at The New Movement and produced as a podcast, released later that month. (Plus, as Anna Shults reports at NolaVie, even the people who are turned away get a cookie and a sticker.)

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Advance tickets for Sunday’s show sold here.