Kidney Transplant: Lauren, Madison, WI

On April 20, 2014, Lauren and her husband, Nick, attended a routine ultrasound appointment to check on the health of their first baby, Rigby, due at the end of the summer. In the middle of the scan, the ultrasound technician quietly put down the wand and excused herself. What seemed an excruciating number of minutes later, the technician returned with a doctor, who then led Lauren and Nick down the hall into another room full of doctors and social workers. They told them that, according to the ultrasound, Rigby had a… Read More

Kidney Transplant: Christina, Queens, NY

Christina told me her story via telephone. There is a strange, but not uncommon phenomenon amongst many kidney donors, which can best be described as a premonition. Many donors I’ve spoken to, myself included, experienced gut feelings that they would be the ones to make the donation, even if they weren’t sure they wanted to yet. Christina’s story begins with such a premonition. Christina works as mortgage consultant in the New York area. She’d never before met anyone who needed or received a kidney until one day she met a… Read More


You didn’t want to be there     Anthropology alone compelled you to stay And I—        I relied on other means        Other dreams A song tattooed on your arm Lines and dots like I’d never seen The only song I couldn’t sing You said you’d play it for me one day Remember when you wanted to stay?        When you wanted me to meet your friends and your dog and your real life               The one outside the life that crossed with mine        When we blew coke and dropped doses right there at the… Read More

Quickie: End Stage Renal Delay

Just popping in to share my essay, “End Stage Renal Delay,” published by Welcome Table Press as an honorable mention in their Essaying the Body Electric contest. My favorite part is the sentence they asked us to write about what “body electric” means to us: The body electric is the extension of the physical to the metaphysical, the spark of tangible matter that ignites the fire of a collective existence. Sometimes, I like what I write. This is one of those times.

Writing Tip #2: Contribution Based Contract Scams

Over the last year, I’ve sent the manuscript for my memoir to dozens of agents and small presses, waiting to find that right fit at the right time. A month or two ago, I thought perhaps that moment had arrived. A publisher based in the UK requested to see my full manuscript. A few weeks later, a thick envelope arrived in the mail, all decorated with international postage and post office scrawlings. I knew what was in there. Oh god, I knew what was in there. Except I didn’t. Not… Read More

Kidney Transplant: Julie, Rotherham, UK

This story was told to me by Julie via FaceTime. Two months before the birth of Julie’s seventh grandchild, her daughter-in-law went to the hospital for routine tests. The doctors discovered that there was a unusual lack of amniotic fluid in the womb. At first, they hesitated to raise alarms–there might have been a half dozen explanations for such a thing–but the fluid levels continued to drop, and so in December of 2012, Julie’s daughter-in-law was sent to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for an ultrasound. There, she received disturbing news: her… Read More

Writing Tip #1: Ignore Everyone

It’s been nearly two months since I embarked on this freelance writing thingy that I’m doing. It’s honestly gone a lot better than I’d expected, though I wouldn’t be so optimistic if I didn’t have the financial cushion that I do. But that cushion gets thinner and thinner each day, and especially each month, when rent is due. The question that has lingered over me these last two months, and the question that still lingers over me now is, how will I avoid running out of cash? The simplest answer, and… Read More

Kidney Transplant: Jennifer, Placerville, CA

This story was told to me by Jennifer via telephone. Jennifer was living in Alaska in the 1980s when she first discovered that her sister, Susan, had developed kidney problems. Susan had been a severe diabetic since her twenties, but she’d gotten by well enough until her kidney function began to decrease. Concerned for her sister’s well-being, and certain that she’d soon need a transplant, Jennifer moved back to California in 1986. The following year, 1987, Susan’s doctors told her to start looking for a transplant donor. Her name was… Read More

Pictures With Strangers, Part II

Here it is, a mere few weeks after my random downtown encounter with a photographer, and I’m back at it. Being photographed, that is. And photographed well. Where were these people when I needed headshots? Today’s credit goes to Robert Stoetzel, who operates the Instagram handle human_and_hound, (You should follow him and also visit the website.) The story is this: Two or three days a week, I walk a friend’s dog in part to help her out but also in part because I have a man-crush on the dog, whose name is… Read More

Kidney Transplant: Tina, Covington, KY

Tina shared her story with me via telephone. She’d never thought much about being a kidney donor. She was just in the right place at the right time. She hasn’t even told that many people that she’s a donor. Of course, that is about to change. On an otherwise normal day at work, Tina, not meaning to eavesdrop, overheard a distraught coworker, David, telling another coworker that his wife had left him. Not only that, but she did so with full knowledge that David was on the road to renal failure,… Read More