Being “Useful”

By Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Being a parent with a literary background is both a blessing and a curse. While it gives you some tools to analyze what kind of psychological effect certain Disney movies might have on your kid, it can also lead to a good dose of guilt when you realize that you should have watched (and thrown …

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Being Enough

By Rosalyn Eves

When the same message comes at me in the same week from vastly different sources, I’m learning to pay attention. Sometimes tender mercies come disguised as coincidences.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in Relief Society in my parents’ ward—the first time I’d been to Relief Society in a very long time. (I’m the primary president). I was feeling generally worn down: truth be told, I didn’t especially want to be there.

Angelo Trezzini [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As some of you may know, I wrote a book. It doesn’t come out until early next year, but already there is some pressure to be present on social media, to promote the book, to build a community of readers and writers. It’s wonderful and exciting (a dream nearly 30 years in the making!) and downright terrifying (strangers—worse, people who know me—are going to be able to read it and judge me, not just the book). And sometimes, truth be told, a little depressing. Because even after (nearly) reaching a goal I’ve worked toward for a very long time, some days it still feels like too little, too late. So many other writers I meet online seem smarter, funnier, younger, prettier.

Sometimes I feel like my whole life I’ve been chasing some elusive idea of enough: that I will be smart enough, talented enough, something enough to matter.

That week, I’d been reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, a gift from a good friend who thought I needed to read it. In the book, Brown describes our current culture as one of scarcity, that preaches two lies: one, “an ordinary life is a meaningless life” and two, “we’re never enough.” At its root, a culture of scarcity insists that if we are not extra-ordinary, we do not have worth. And so we spend our lives hunting for a constantly moving bar of achievement that will say now—now I’m enough. Now I am valuable.

It’s exhausting. And that Sunday, sitting at the back of a familiar room, I was exhausted.

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A Punnet’s Worth (and Then Some)

By Kellie Purcill


After significant accounting, historical research, graveyard excavation and gnawing introspection, I have come to a decision that has shoved my world off its axis, and is still rattling my bones.

I am worth $6.99.

This discovery was prompted (in all its complicated monstrosity) by a punnet of raspberries. A “punnet” is the packaging size of fresh raspberries here in Australia – a fragile, tiny plastic clamshell to carry your hairy rubies home… if you pay about $6 for the ransom privilege.   The punnet weighs about 125 grams (a quarter pound), so it’s not a whole lot of bang for your bucks, so the cost:benefit ratio has always been hugely ridiculous… until a couple of weeks ago.

Previously, every time I saw them I’d stop, look at their plumpness, (stealthily suck in the scent of them) and – weighing up a running tally of and scrolling logarithm of if/then/else/and/therefore, continue past to more sensible fare.  But that particular week, raspberries were on special, and their siren call was spectacular.  So I bought a punnet, babied it through the cartons of milk and bags of potatoes required for the feeding of giants, into the car then ate every single one before I got home 10 minutes later.

Home, where I had raspberry breath and guilt thick around my shoulders. What on earth was going on?  History, that’s what.

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100 Proof Tequila Mockingbird

By Jennie LaFortune

7:30 a.m. is too early for enthusiasm or coherent thoughts, but regardless, my morning ritual commences. I am attempting to straighten my paper-ridden desk, while my mind spins with the to-do list for the day. A blonde girl in first period walks up and starts chatting.  She looks down at my piles which I can only suppose is shock and awe, and looks up to the ceiling, sighs, and says with a slow smirk, “T o

K i l l   a   M o c k i n g b i r d, I get it now!”

The line ‘F O R E V E R’ from the movie The Sandlot flashes through my mind and I wonder what she is talking about. She seems to be looking at the tattered To Kill a Mockingbird novel on my desk.  I ask what she means, and she goes on to explain that last year she had a history teacher who also taught English and would always refer to this book and how lucky they would be to read it the next year.

The student said she could never figure out two things: first, why the author would pick such a dumb title for a book , ‘Tequila Mockingbird’, and second, why the heck we (teachers are often a collective group of massive conspirators with great decisive power- but that’s another story) would have teenagers read a book with the word tequila in it. I smile and teacherly say thanks for reminding me to enunciate! To.  Kill.  a.  Mockingbird.

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