Some time ago, I had an idea for a story. Well, it’s not a story as much as a concept, or a setup for one. What if, at some point in the future, we have the ability to manipulate our own brains — through science, through some procedure or technology that would allow us to delete something learned, or even better, a memory or series of memories? Items could be chosen from a menu. What would you like to forget: a person, a place, a series of events? A skill, a belief? For example, you could delete all memory of…


I have been thinking lately, as I often do, about the film Moonstruck. I have seen it probably thirty times but even if you haven’t watched it, you may know the famous “Snap out of it!” line, spoken by Cher’s character, Loretta, after she slaps Nicholas Cage’s Ronny. This comes after their first sexual encounter, when she is feeling confused and regretful. But before that, there is the scene where they fall in love during a discussion at his kitchen table, while they drink whiskey and eat the steak she has cooked.

I am a writer, a reader, and a…


What Do Writers Owe Readers; What Do We Owe Ourselves?

Recently in my work as an editor, I was writing developmental notes for a first-time author. In his novel, he had chosen to write from the point of view of a certain character and well, I didn’t think it worked. I had several reasons, but the main one had to do with the authenticity of the character’s arc. Anybody who’s been to any sort of creative writing class or workshop can tell you what the arc of a story is: the journey of the main character as he changes, grows, or learns while facing challenges. In other words, the events…


Like many women in America, I find myself disturbed by the Kavanaugh hearings. I’ve been in a state of unrest this week, watching but not really watching, reading online reactions and commentary, listening to the voices of women telling stories of assault and suppression. Of course, I, too, have a story. In fact there are more than one. Every woman I know has more than one and usually, they vary in degree. …


In July of 2015, I took a bad fall while running in downtown Chicago. We were in town for my youngest sister’s wedding and after spending several days in the suburbs where she was married on the vast lawn of our father’s and stepmother’s house next to the Fox River, we spent a few days downtown. My husband and I had previously lived in Chicago and our first son was born there; the city is a favorite.

The Nichols Bridgeway is a pedestrian bridge that joins the Great Lawn of Millennium Park to the Modern Wing of Chicago’s wonderful Art…


One Modern Family’s Story

My sister Carol calls me around nine-thirty on a Wednesday morning. As always, her voice is cheerful and upbeat. In the background I hear the usual, accompanying sounds to her phone calls — the canned echo, the rush of cars outside. She lives in San Fernando Valley and commutes seventeen miles, every weekday, to her job at a non-profit in Los Angeles. During these drives to and from work, which can take from thirty to ninety minutes depending on traffic, she keeps in frequent contact with just about everyone in our family.

I ask her how the appointment went. This…

Mary Vensel White

Writer

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