A high school, Planned Parenthood, and anti-intellectualism: how students taught some grown-ups about censorship

A few years ago, some students at Ponte Vedra High School had an idea. Let’s host a beauty pageant for guys, they thought. Sort of a spoof, but just for fun. And we’ll charge people to come see it, and we’ll give the money to charity. The annual Mr. FINtastic contest was born (Go Sharks!), and it has been a smashing success. This year’s winner is PV High senior Matt Gibson, an affable guy with a mop of curly brown hair and anRead more

MLK Day, and keeping our eyes wide open

My teen girl, Scout, is reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah for school. At first, she moaned every time she had to read a new chapter. “I hate this book,” she said repeatedly. “It’s so, so bad.” So I held an intervention. A Long Way Gone is the memoir of a young boy in the Sierra Leone who was driven from his home and forcibly conscripted into a rebel army, where he witnessed –Read more

Feminist. Should you be one? It’s so hard to decide.

The decision about whether to be a feminist is a hard one. Young women today have it tough. Lots of them are happily dating men, and are understandably nervous about becoming a feminist because it automatically requires being a lesbian. I’m a problem-solver by nature, and I hate to think of these hot young things struggling with this decision. So I, a proud feminist who wears Birkenstocks, have written a guide to help women process their feelings. Here are someRead more

Trump, Putin, and the fake ADOPTION news

If I had never seen a photo of Don Trump, Jr. posing with a South African buffalo he had just shot, I might feel a tiny bit sorry for him. There he was, just going about his life as the father of five and a billionaire, when he was thrown into his father’s bombastic presidential campaign. And in an effort to make his dad proud, he agreed last July to meet with a Russian government lawyer and several other pro-RussianRead more

Worms and workouts. Memorial Day redux, again.

The day before the last day of school last week brought a terrible thunderstorm to Northeast Florida. The rain poured down in sheets and wind ripped through the trees like a buzz saw. But the next morning was clear and cool as the Tyrant and I walked to the bus stop for her last few hours as a fourth-grader. We had our eyes down because she likes to look for doodlebugs. Or roly polys, or the latin word armadillidiidae, whatever you callRead more

Time to say goodbye to Old Blue.

Listen, we are not going to talk about my six-week blog break. Mmm-kay? I mean, I will eventually, because I talk about pretty much everything except my personal sex life. Exception: I talk quite a bit about my personal sex life in The Place of Peace and Crickets, MY NEW BOOK, which as you know is available for sale in a variety of places. More accurately, we’re not going to talk right now about the past few weeks. I’ll just say peopleRead more

A Holiday Round-up for your entertainment

Dear generous readers, The worst thing about being a writer is not writing. When I’m not writing, my waking hours consist of strange and beautiful sentences forming in my head, begging to be eternalized through the stroke of a few keys. They had wanted to name her Astrid, but between the language barrier and her mother’s fledgling literacy, she got stuck with Aspic. She didn’t know it was a bad name until her fourth grade teacher helpfully explained to the class that aspic was alsoRead more

Immigrant status, and the deportation of an American adoptee

Every year around this date, I remember that National Adoption Month has nearly passed without me recognizing it, which makes me feel hugely deficient. So Happy National Adoption Month. Adoption is a beautiful, heartbreaking, complicated way to form a family, and the circumstances surrounding it are filled with joy and sadness and perpetual grief. Yay! My three little bugs, as you know, were adopted, the oldest from Vietnam and the younger two from Guatemala. They were adopted; it’s not a chronicRead more

Dear Savvy Sister: What to do about Post-Traumatic Election Disorder?

Dear Savvy Sister, What the hell do I do with my sense of anger and despair? This is unprecedented. Sincerely, Bereft Dear Bereft and scores of other generous readers, What to do, what to do. On occasion, the Savvy Sister feels as despondent as her readers, and this is one of those occasions. The idea of a President Trump defies believability; we have elected a leader who has no experience, no knowledge of government, and a devolved moral code. AndRead more

Trump’s accusers: Um….I know how they feel…..

As I’m writing this, nine women have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault or sexual harassment – or sexual aggression, you might call it. It’s difficult to believe, right? Because why are they just coming forward now, less than a month before the election? It’s suspicious. If what he did to them was so bad, they would have filed some sort of complaint. Press pause. In 1988, I started graduate school at Boston University, studying for a master’s degree inRead more