The Youngberg Manifest Anxiety Scale
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A particular strain of short stories runs through the mountain face of twentieth and twenty-first century American literature. Written in the first-person, more akin to theatrical monologue than traditionally plotted narrative, these works are majestic in the way they stage the self against the realities of the world. The women who narrate them (and they are nearly always women) are whip-smart, almost to a fault, and depend on their wit to carry them through trying times. This essay is a look at my arsenal, those stories and voices I cannot escape as I muddle over what it is to write and read. Their mattering is inextricable from their sound and sense, but in trying to tease them apart, I hope I can show some small part of what that mattering looks like.
- English