Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom scares me — and that’s probably a good thing.

Photo illustration by author. Image via Pexels.

When I started reading THICK: And Other Essays, I had to keep putting it down to compose myself. Nothing prepared me to be so directly acknowledged and addressed in a text. I thought it unheard of. Frightening even.

In the vast majority of stories served up to me as “classics” and “essentials” over the years, I’ve had to contort my reality to fit that of the traditional (read: not Black and not female) narrator. This contortion act is a skill that I’ve had a lifetime to hone, though I know I’m not the only one.

But, as I oriented myself…

A case study in trusting your creative energy

Image: Detail of “El sueño de la razón produce monstrous” by Goya/Google Art Project/Public Domain

“Ghouls!” I shouted to no one who could hear.

I was laying on my couch with a fleece blanket pulled up to my chin.

On my television screen, a reporter stood in front of a cameraman. Her expression and tone jumped from melodramatic to goofy the instant she flubbed one of her lines.

She and the cameraman were at a cemetery in Texas, on the scene where a woman’s body had been exhumed that day. The corpse — which was laid to rest 17 years earlier — was going to be used as evidence in a murder trial.

The reporter…

Photo illustration of a woman with hearts for eyes in front of a backdrop of flowers
Photo illustration of a woman with hearts for eyes in front of a backdrop of flowers
Photo illustration by A. Coghlan. Image sources: itskittygirl and User 422737 on Pixabay

I’m doing it again. It’s 11 p.m. and I’m posting a clip of a commercial from the ’90s on my Instagram Stories.

This time it’s for the candy bar Whatchamacallit. I’ve never eaten a Whatchamacallit. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen anyone else eat a Whatchamacallit. I’m not even sure they make Whatchamacallits anymore. But the advertisement’s Roy Lichtenstein-esque animation and accompanying breathy jingle have etched their way into my mind.

It’s taken me a couple of hours to get to the point of posting.

First, I agonized over which piece of ’90s nostalgia I wanted to dazzle…

A. Coghlan

Writer lady. Published in The Seattle Times, Scary Mommy & more. Subscribe to my newsletter, if you’re into that sort of thing: http://eepurl.com/hfM0vn

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