An Open Letter to Sunnie Kahle (and Christian tomboys everywhere)

Emily C. Heath

Dear Sunnie,

You don’t know me, but this morning I read an article about you. (You can read it here: http://www.abc27.com/story/25061872/little-girl-taken-out-of-christian-school-after-told-shes-too-much-like-a-boy  ) Ever since then you keep crossing my mind. As I went around town today in my jeans and button-down shirt and sweater, I thought about you. As I came home from the gym tonight, I prayed for you. And all the while, I wished I could write you a letter…the kind of letter I wish someone had written to me.

This is me when I was a few years younger than you. This is me when I was a few years younger than you.

I don’t know how to get one to you, though. I thought about trying to send it to your grandparents for them to read to you, but I’m not sure if it would make it there. So instead I’m writing this and posting it on my blog. Maybe somehow these words will find their way to your…

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MATT POWER: An Appreciation

GLITTERING SCRIVENER

Yesterday, the internet exploded with tributes to my dear friend Matt, who died in Uganda on Monday (probably of heatstroke), while walking down the Nile on assignment for Men’s Journal. I wrote a couple griefstricken posts on Facebook and a bunch on twitter, but Matt worked best in longform. He deserves as many words as I can give him.

I met Matt in 2004, at Breadloaf. He was 29. He’d just published his first piece in Harper’s and he was very excited about it. So excited that when I met him, this skinny, t-shirted guy in a pair of jeans that he’d bought in maybe 1992,  across a crowded room full of writers, he had a gin and tonic in one hand (for me) and a copy of the Harper’s issue The Poison Stream appeared in, in the other. His enthusiasm was so high that I mistook him for some…

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10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Last week the Huffington Post ran this article titled 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

As an educator who advocates for the intentional and appropriate use of technology, I could go on about this forever. But instead I’m writing here as a mother.

Here are my 10 reasons why I will continue giving my children handheld devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1) Because banning things never, ever, ever works. 

Remember when your parents wouldn’t let you watch rated R movies so you just went to your friends’ houses to watch them? I think I’d rather have my kids using technology and handheld devices with me beside them. Where I can engage with them, answer questions, and limit content if I have concerns.

2) Problem solving.

When my kids get really frustrated with not being able to do…

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I’ve never been able to get a super-clear read on my own sexual orientation, and that’s just how it is sometimes.

The War on Loneliness

11queerbadge_400 Same-sex attraction certainly exists. And it’s probably biological. But, in some ways, the existential life of the individual queer person would be easier if it wasn’t a question of biology, because then it would just be a question of taste and could be interrogated as such. We have plenty of tools for analyzing questions of taste: straight men know exactly how to say that they prefer one kind of woman to another kind of woman, and, while we don’t think of those preferences as being biological (though they might be, to some extent), we accept them as real expressions of that man’s unique psyche. Perhaps what we’re looking for is a world where some men are just able to say, “Oh, I find other men–or this kind of man–to be aesthetically satisfying in such and such a way” without any question of biology entering into it.

That, though, is not…

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Teaching as Self-Sacrifice

Math with Bad Drawings

Like everyone else, I’m heir to the prejudices of my culture. So even though I know firsthand that teaching is a profession, on some level I see it as an act of self-sacrifice, as a hard path undertaken for the greater good.

This might not sound like a prejudice. Not a damaging one, anyway. It paints a generous portrait of teaching as noble and virtuous—a useful antidote to the too-common caricature of educators as lazy, union-fed bureaucrats. This ethic of “the greater good,” in fact, helped draw many of us into the profession. What we lack in salary and prestige, we make up for in civic-mindedness, in moral conviction, in feeling we’ve taken a high road through our professional life.

But all this high-mindedness has a dark underbelly. In painting the choice to teach as an act of self-sacrifice, I believe that we may harm our schools more than we…

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Profile

Prose and Other Musings

Profile

Welcome to online dating!  Time to create your profile…

First, a little about you:

Um. Hello.  I’m a writer…which sounds unemployed...  I work as a technical writer, and I write short stories and screenplays do creative writing in my free time.  I’m a bookworm, I love authors like Hemingway, Kerouac, Tolstoy… I also read a lot.

My favorite types of music are jazz and swing.  I also love classical and opera… yeah, that’s gonna go over well.

I’m a pretty good cook, and I love to try out new recipes but most of the time I just wing it, but it usually works out… usually.

I loveenjoy really enjoy traveling.  I used to tour with a drum and bugle corps… basically a semi-pro marching band, well, sort of like a marching band, but not exactly… I’ve been on many road trips.  In the next year or two I’m…

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Stress Rhinos

Diamond Pretty Adventures

I don’t handle stress well.  Have a good laugh at that, because it was a joke.  No no, in reality it’s much, much worse than “not well”.  I react to stress the way I imagine an infant would react if he were being charged by a pack of flaming rhinos who wouldn’t halt until he solved a Rubik’s cube.  I go through my own Kubler-Ross series of emotional processing.  

disbelief 
They’re certainly not going to continue running at me.  Surely they’ll tire or get distracted or have a sudden hankering for a cheeseburger.

shock 
How are they still running?!  Don’t they realize they’re on fire?!

frustration
God damnit, I got the green, but then to get the blue, I have to ruin the green.  Who came up with this hell toy, anyway?

terror
THEY ARE NOT THAT FAR OFF AND THEY ARE STILL AFLAME

determination
I will craft…

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