Why You Must Fight for Cancellation

David Tapia San Martin / Unsplash

Prior to the pandemic, Navient, the country’s second largest student loan servicer, contacted my close friend, urging her to share her story as a person successfully repaying her debt. “In today’s world,” they wrote, “it’s not always easy to manage debt, use credit wisely, and keep up with the demands of your career and personal life. But you’re doing it, and we applaud your success. Would you be willing to share your success story with other people who are currently repaying their student loans? Your story could be featured on our website and help…

Courtesy of the New York Public Library / Unsplash

As a bartender in my twenties, I met a man who mentioned he worked in debt management.

“You help people in debt?” I asked.

He laughed. “God, no. Corporations.”

He went on to qualify that he did advise family and friends.

So I asked him: “What do you think about consolidating student loans?”

He was gobbling pretzels from a bowl on the bar and I remember his gold watch as he extended his hand. “No,” he said, “don’t do it.”

He went on to explain that, no matter how many loans you have, it is easier to control them separately…

During COVID-19

Upstate vacation last summer. Photo by Peter Bussigel.

Lennie was a true New Yorker. He drank coffee, preferred cement over grass, and displayed a cool detachment toward passing dogs. At 10 pounds, his favorite sport was to bully men, especially landlords. He was a rescue and entered my life during a period of unrest — divorce, career blockades, and financial woe. A therapist once said he represented everything that fortified me: love, creativity, humor.

Like a true guardian, Lennie accompanied me through quarantine, but once Phase 2 arrived, his legs gave out. He had been prancing around the kitchen, then suddenly it was as if his lower half…

And how to protect yourself.

Milan Sonigra / Unsplash

Over the past 20 years, Twin Towers have fallen, levees have broken, fires have blazed for 17 days, and in all instances, student-loan relief has rarely been as benevolent as it seems. Despite apocalyptic conditions, unemployment, and extraordinary personal losses, such debt generally remains on a ticking clock, collecting more and more interest every aggrieved day.

Frankly, if Covid-19 had been limited to the confines of a California town or a certain ward in New Orleans, interest on federal loans would not be “waived.” …

While Alone in Quarantine

Lunch with Alex. Porto Santo Stefano, Italy. 2015/photo provided by author

Two weeks ago, a woman in my Pilates class announced, “I just don’t feel nervous. Is that wrong?” A man standing next to her kept his hands on his hips, his eyes on his reformer, and said, “That’s called denial.”

By then, New York was gearing up for Covid-19, but I kept attending Pilates class and peacefully stockpiling wine and pasta and broth. In a stationery store, I bought a $20 can of Lysol and a $2 mask.

Day 05 of quarantine, I was loitering at the kitchen sink when a series of messages came through on WhatsApp. In the…

Why You Should Care About Both Issues. A lot.

* a remodeled post — because it matters

“There is no real connection between an individual with a mental health diagnosis and mass shootings,” Bethany Lilly of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law told NPR in December, after Devin Kelley killed 25 adults and children in a Baptist Church in Texas. “That connection according to all experts doesn’t exist.”

Days later, after Kevin Neal killed five people, wounded seven children, and attempted to attack Rancho Tehama Elementary School in California, Dr. James Fox, an author and expert on gun violence, told NBC news, “We like to think that these…

The anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is upon us this week. It’s been five years since 12 girls, eight boys, and seven adult women were killed. Much was promised in the aftermath. Politicians wept, gun-control bills flooded statehouses, and the state of Connecticut set out to examine how Adam Lanza transformed from a socially awkward child to a 20-year-old gunman.

It took almost two years for Connecticut’s panel of clinicians and education experts to carefully compile the 114-page report and in that time the fervor dwindled. Various news outlets gave their own short summaries, often highlighting…

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Among its many burdens, depression shares its name with capitalism’s most dreaded enemy: long-term economic stagnation. Perhaps by association, the disease has a hard time coexisting in a political system that demands self-sufficiency and perservereance — and punishes those who falter.

Imagine Me Gone, Adam Haslett’s recent novel, depicts the toll of depression on a middle-class family with an afflicted father and son. Told in the points of view of both parents and their three children, the story is skillfully restrained, almost slim seeming, for its intent and scope. Divided into three parts, the…

I first heard of Reeva Steenkamp’s death in a movie theater. An elderly man seated behind me was talking to his wife. “Guy kills his girlfriend. In the bathroom. He shot her through the door. Four times.”

The man’s voice was what caught my attention, that particular New York lilt that can convey disgust and confusion in equal parts. I knew he was discussing current news, not a plotline, not a new twist to our upcoming feature, Anna Karenina.

Why,” he said, “would anyone do that?”

“Must’ve been a fight,” his wife said matter-of-factly.

Days later, I read about Oscar…

Christina Fitzpatrick

Novelist and Writer. Talker and Person. Sometimes humorous, sometimes not.

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