A roundup of stories from our week together at Catapult.
A Girls’ Guide to Personal Hygiene
For our At Work series, Jim Cole recalls his time working on a “burn crew” at a state park in Florida: “It’s one thing to explain why something works, and another thing to be the one setting fire to the parched reeds.”
I learn everything and nothing. The world blooms into a series of stories that leave me gasping, angry. A man in my office decided to advocate for me. A surgeon once cut into my breast without saying hello. A colleague confused common everyday sexism with sexual harassment and I became the star of an investigation. So many young men were never taught the nuances of consent.
Our occasional pseudonymous columnist, the Magpie, considers power, memory, the films of Mike Nichols, and the collages of Hannah Höch.
“I kept running toward fashion blindly, erasing the desires I couldn’t see within me. Restlessness for muscular boys with fair skin, for sophisticated parties where I twirled and drowned myself, for the beauty of a world far from provincialism—I needed all this when I left my parents’ home. José Esteban Muñoz writes of queers as ‘migrant souls,’ but it’s Ranjha’s words that echo in my heart today: ‘They are happy who do not quit their homes.’”
When Rachel Klein, a lifelong performer, suffered damage to her vocal chords, she learned to give voice to different kinds of stories:
My humor pieces, I saw, had been an extension of the narrative of my performing self—the comedian, skilled with a turn of phrase, a well-placed reference, a perfectly timed punchline. But in the quiet forced upon me, I started to hear the voices of other selves, voices that spoke the kinds of stories one didn’t tell to get a laugh or fill a room—stories told in order to make sense of things, to create meaning. These stories were more personal. They were about me, my family, my life. They weren’t funny, and that was okay. And when I wrote them down, I could tell they often weren’t as good as I wanted them to be, which was okay, too. For the first time in a long time, I felt the humility and pleasure that can accompany a deep desire to grow.
Finally, this week we were delighted to present the first comic in “Passing for Human,” a brilliantly weird new series by Liana Finck.