Essays

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With trademark cropped hair, O’Connor sings soulfully, playing her guitar, bathed in blue stage lights from above.

Coming of age with Sinéad

We need Sinéad O’Connor’s spirit more than ever

When Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer heard about Sinéad O’Connor’s death this summer, she became her 21-year-old self, sustained against harassment and injustice by a singular voice.
Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Essays 4 minute read
Ground-level photo of cathedral that takes in its stone arches and vaulted ceiling above, spangled with lights.

Prison, hospital, burger joint, cathedral: does art transcend the space it’s in?

Art on the horizon

When art isn’t created for any particular site, how does it relate to the space where it’s exhibited, whether it’s a gallery, a prison, or a house of worship? Treacy Ziegler considers secular art in sacred places.
Treacy Ziegler

Treacy Ziegler

Essays 5 minute read
View from below the wooden framing of a house under construction, against a bright blue sky.

No house lasts forever, including our own bodies. We keep moving as long as we can.

Good-enough bones

While Anndee Hochman faces treatment for osteoporosis, she remembers the different homes we live in, from our bones to our houses, and everything we’ll do to keep them standing.
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read
Wooden Scrabble tiles spell "Time to say goodbye" in front of the black screen of a sleeping tablet.

My therapist broke up with me—and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Trials and terminations

Fredricka R. Maister felt grateful to find a therapist when she needed one most at the height of the pandemic. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, but should it have ended the way it did?
Fredricka R. Maister

Fredricka R. Maister

Essays 5 minute read
Vintage color photo of a young man with brown hair in a crowd, in a Flyers jersey, drinking out of the silver Stanley Cup

What grieving the Eagles loss taught me about how to come home

It’s a Philly thing

Heather Joelle Boneparth says the Eagles’s Super Bowl loss felt heavier than it should have: more grief was lurking, but also a new understanding of home, with a Philly flair.
Heather Joelle Boneparth

Heather Joelle Boneparth

Essays 6 minute read
A shadowy, silhouetted image seen from behind a man regarding a red and white Rothko painting in a gallery.

The heartbreaking luxury of home hospice care

Earthy, real, and worth every moment

Emily B. Schilling cared for her dying mother at home and, about a decade later, she faced a similar goodbye to her husband. Hospice is exhausting and heartbreaking, but she doesn’t regret one moment of it.
Emily Schilling

Emily Schilling

Essays 6 minute read
The Philly skyline at a cloudy dusk, tiny near the horizon, over the teeming roofs of South Philadelphia.

It’s their city, too: Philly’s young people deserve to take up space

Kids are the future, not the enemy

Headlines about mobs of disruptive teens are dominating Philly this year. Why won’t we invest in spaces that welcome youngsters and keep them safe? Camille Bacon-Smith considers in a conversation with the office of City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas.
Camille Bacon-Smith

Camille Bacon-Smith

Essays 6 minute read
Looking up, a view of a tree full of pinkish white frothy-looking cherry blossoms, with blue sky behind them.

This April, help autistic people by promoting acceptance, not awareness

A new adage for April

Because of inaccurate and stigmatizing “autism awareness” campaigns, it took writer and educator Bridget Scanlan a long time to learn that she herself is autistic. Now, she advocates a new paradigm of acceptance.
Bridget Scanlan

Bridget Scanlan

Essays 5 minute read
Photo of a person completely wrapped in a peach & blue colored blanket, lying on a city sidewalk next to a postal service bin

Do we need a child’s humanity to see unhoused people?

Everyone was seven once

Anndee Hochman remembers her daughter’s childhood in a home that was open to others who needed it. But eventually, the little girl asks: who is that person on the street?
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read
Seen in profile, a little girl in a play dress and bobbed hair stands on the shore of a lake using a kid-sized fishing rod.

As a young trans woman, I honor my inner child by being true to myself today

Giving myself a girlhood

Joan Rittberg grew up as a boy, but from the time she was a teenager, she knew something wasn’t right. Now, instead of wishing she had transitioned earlier, she focuses on loving the woman she is today.
Joan Rittberg

Joan Rittberg

Essays 5 minute read