image courtesy unsplash

It’s January, which means that we’re all resolving to be better versions of ourselves: thinner, kinder, or at least more organized. The promise to Get One’s Shit Together is a familiar one to me. After all, it’s how I started every school year from 2nd grade on. Every year I told myself that this year, maybe, I would buy the right style of notebook, be it a trapper keeper or a five star. This year, perhaps, I would use LABELS and TABS and color-coded means to keep my life in order. This fucking year, I would actually put my god…

image courtesy Warner Bros

You have to understand that my family went into Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day with high hopes. We love movies, especially a good, traditional Jewish Christmas Day movie watching, and my almost-seven-year-old, especially, adores Wonder Woman. Blame my own childhood nostalgia. A few months ago, I bought her one of those old brown Fisher Price tape decks and a lot of tapes off Ebay. The belt (which the seller had replaced with a hair tie) needed replacing almost immediately, and it still hisses, but the moment I got it working she lugged it off to her room.

I’m an author — but then, if you’ve been following me here on medium, you already know that. My newest book, Strange Creatures, comes out on June 1st from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. What you might not know is that a few years back, I had a side gig making book trailers for author friends. There’s nothing quite like distilling a book down to its essence and wrapping it up in a shiny package, and though I got out of the trailer biz a few years ago when my kiddo was born, there have been times when I’ve missed the experience…

As a novelist, I’ve spent the last six years leaning heavily into my ambitions, trying to craft novels that are bigger, more ambitious, and stranger than anything you — or I — have read before. There were times this seemed like a foolish path, moments when I doubted my ability to write emotionally honest and genre-bending stories that other people would, you know, want to read. But once my novel Strange Creatures found a home with the folks at Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, I felt confident that I was in safe hands.

And nowhere has this been more apparent than during…

The hit Netflix series wants us to think it’s pretty gay. But is it?

Image courtesy Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix’s record breaking, utterly bingeable hit mini-series which tells the story of Beth Harmon, an orphaned, addicted chess prodigy in the 1960s, has been hailed as the newest queer TV hit. If you haven’t watched it yet, you’re the last one — and please do, before reading this essay. The show’s themes are undeniably feminist: in seven brisk episodes we watch the elfin Beth taking on the male-dominated world of competitive chess, outplaying a retinue of men who seem intent on teaching her the game, even as she soundly beats them in it. The Queen’s Gambit too…

Content warning: this essay contains discussion of passive suicidal ideation.

image copyright miramax

It started out as a joke. Or at least I thought it was a joke.

Last summer, my book club read The Hours. This group of Hudson Valley mothers and parents discussed how we were struck by Michael Cunningham’s sensitivity to the plight of new mothers. “Sometimes we all want to run away to a hotel room with a book,” we all agreed.

When lockdown began to drag on through March and into April, then May, I found myself chasing solitude in a similar sort of way. Our book club had moved on to Grady Hendrix by then. I tried…

Image via unsplash user@cramtek

In 1996, I wrote fanfiction.

As an author today, when I tell teenagers about my youthful predilection for stories set in other peoples’ world, they barely blink. Fanfic, if a little nerdy, is expected of people like me, people who wear big glasses and ironic t-shirts, people who make books. Teenagers might tell me that they write fanfiction, too — sheepishly rolling their eyes at their OTPs or giggling about how their favorite fandom is one centered around books they don’t even like anymore, though they did once, when they were ten, a lifetime ago.

On one level, that they…

These views are not the official stance of Girl Scouts USA.

mother and two children hiking. image courtesy of

This September, I found myself abruptly at the helm of a Daisy Girl Scout troop of twelve five- and six-year-old girls. Full of energy, challenging and sometimes exasperating, our troop has quickly swelled to seventeen Girl Scouts over the course of a few short months. In order to lead them, I had to draw on all of my interests and experiences — in child development and psychology, in outdoor education, in democratic-free schooling. …

At the edge of the apocalypse, we all make jokes
about it being the apocalypse, we all carry

hand sanitizer in little bottles to trivia night at the bar
and then, after we high five, give our red, ravaged knuckles

a squirt and we can’t help but notice how the drunk girl
who gives us a high five puts her dirty mitts all over

the bottle and drops a bead of it on the floor. At the edge
of the apocalypse we learn about our inability

to spell “sanitizer” and how autocorrect doesn’t like
the real spelling, anyway. …

(and the one symptom my medication hasn’t fixed)

Photo of child with paint on hands

When I was a kid, nobody knew I had ADHD. After all, I didn’t fit the standard profile. I looked like a girl, for one thing, and because I’d been socialized like a girl, I knew to stay in my seat and — mostly, God forbid anyone got me talking about the local Renaissance festival — knew how to keep my mouth shut. I was also the dreaded 2e child. …

Phoebe North

storyteller. sap. strange creature. they/them pronouns.

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