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Special Edition Outtakes & Excerpts #3: On Speed

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I once worked in a restaurant where the customer had to be greeted within seconds of approaching the bar—or else our manager would rush over and drop a menu, smiling almost aggressively as if to make up for my supposed negligence of their presence. Later, I would be reprimanded for not tending to their needs immediately. My manager would raise an eyebrow. Immediately.

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Special Edition Outtakes & Excerpts #2: SGV

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I’m back in the San Gabriel Valley to have dinner with a good friend. Ivy—she’s just moved back from two years teaching English in Korea, and she’s living temporarily in our hometown of Arcadia while contemplating her next move. I live only about 30 miles away on the Westside of LA, but my parents have moved away from the area, and now I rarely make it back. It’s a chance to get my hair cut by an Asian lady, stock up at the Chinese grocery store, and see what’s changed.

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Special Edition Outtakes & Excerpts #1: Enjoying the In-Between

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Fran and Emma (2016) by Kate Mitchell

I sat with my back against a hundred-year-old grave marker, eighteen years old, the promise of liberty as a soon-to-be-college-student pumping adrenaline through my veins. Michael kept close. He knew the graveyard creeped me out a little. It was February and a few degrees below freezing—the perfect excuse to sit side-by-side, knees touching. Funny how quickly intimacy can blossom between strangers.

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Coping Isn’t the Goal: Jameela Jamil and the Violent Narrative Against Women’s Bodies

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On a cold November morning halfway through my sophomore year of high school, I was sitting in a hospital examination room feeling an acute sense of relief when a doctor told me I was not allowed to go out for basketball season. I’d lost too much weight to make physical activity viable. This relief was two-fold; I hated basketball, and I’d been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. My doctor was unimpressed, but something like pride welled up in me. I’d earned something; anorexia nervosa rang in my ears like an accolade. Now others would intervene to take away what I’d fought so hard for, but at least I knew I had the capacity to achieve it.

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On Form N-400

This essay was originally published by the literary journal Rock & Sling in Vox, a special edition issue on the 2016 presidential election. You can get your hands on this issue, as well as the upcoming Vox II: American Identities by visiting their online store

“You can color in the bubbles for me,” Courtland offered, sliding the ballot across our kitchen table.

I looked at him, horrified. “That’s fraud!”

“Only joking,” he said. “I’ll let you wear the sticker though.” He held up the small white oval stuck to his thumb.

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A 9/11 Story

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Historical amnesia is dangerous. It’s a phenomenon that wreaked havoc in the immediate post-9/11 aftermath and continues to rear its ugly head in the current political climate. Today, we share with you a moving story by native New Yorker and psychology blogger Jessica Taylor on that fateful day sixteen years ago, when she was just seven years old. I think Jessica would agree that it’s important to remember these events not to incite fear and promote divisiveness, but rather to locate them in the larger narrative of history in order to move forward in a fruitful, generative manner—for all willing to contribute to the betterment of this country.

I just checked outside and the sky looks exactly as it did in 2001. Clear skies. Blue. Beautiful. 7 years old. Math lesson was in full effect. Before being sent off to our tables, the building shook and swayed, lights flickering quickly. Next thing I know, my dad is in the doorway of my classroom. Very confused, nobody told me I had a doctor’s appointment that day. Normally that’s what an early pickup means, right? Wrong. Paps was sweating. Nothing new. Frantic with fear gobbling up his eyes? Of course like most children being able to pick up feelings, and out of sheer curiosity, we begin to question everything in existence.

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