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Amy Shearn Archive

Amy Shearn

Disparate Housewives

October 17th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY–

I come from a long line of unenthusiastic housekeepers.  My maternal grandmother was known for blowing up kitchens (a particularly awkward situation as my grandfather was a clergyman and they were therefore always residents in church-owned homes).  My paternal grandmother’s culinary ambitions began and ended with Jell-o mold, albeit the dressed-up variety with fruit cocktail bits suspended within like edible gems.  Growing up, my house was a preferred place to play among my friends because you could make a mess, which made it ideal for craft projects of all sorts.

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Amy Shearn

A Thousand Words: My Grandmother and Me

September 6th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY -

1. There is this photograph of my maternal grandmother holding baby-me.  I’m maybe 8 or 9 months old, decked out in a pink jumper and a stunned expression, as someone off-camera were dangling a particularly baffling toy, or warning me about junior high.  I’m sitting on my grandmother’s lap and she has one hand around my waist and the other delicately supporting my right hand.  We look poised for a dance.  Her eyes are closed, the look on her face one of pure, dreamy contentment.  Someone told me recently that there is no less-complicated love than that between a grandparent and grandchild.  My grandmother’s face certainly suggests this.  She looks like an angel.
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Amy Shearn

A Memo to the Department of Labor, part II

April 13th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

I am pleased to find that the whole newborn baby system seems, at least so far (nearly 3 weeks in), to be a bit more functional than the late-pregnancy situation

 First of all, there is the sleep deprivation.  I know what you are thinking: but surely this is a flaw, is it not? Well listen: there is a reason why cults use sleep deprivation to break down a recruit’s defenses and win her over to their side.  On three hours of sleep, I’m of use to my baby and only to my baby.  Conversation is difficult; following an article in the newspaper near impossible.  But dozy breastfeeding, diaper-changing, and cuddling?  That’s suddenly just my speed.

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Amy Shearn

A Memo to the Department of Labor

March 14th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

Having been pregnant for some 38 weeks now (this leaves 0-4 weeks to go, for the non-mathematically inclined among you), I have gathered many a suggestion for the suggestion box I imagine one encounters at the end of this little exercise.  I assume the labor nurses bring it by in the hospital as they’re foot printing one’s squishy new babe.  And I want to be ready, so I’m compiling some notes here.

 1) First things first: there really ought to be an indicator light of some sort. 

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Amy Shearn

The Laid-Off Life

February 8th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

This was actually the second time I’d gotten such an email, and in case you’ve never gotten one, here are the distinguishing characteristics: it is sent around 11:30 in the morning by the editor-in-chief’s assistant; it reads something cryptic like “All-staff meeting in the conference room NOW; there is often a red exclamation point attached to it. This is probably the only email you’ll ever receive that actually warrants that plaintive little symbol of distress.

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Amy Shearn

The Quietest Resolution

January 2nd, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

On New Year’s Eve, a friend asked if we were doing resolutions.  “Well,” I answered, “I think mine is the same as it always is — to not be so easily annoyed with people.”  She responded that hers was to be nicer to people.  “But I guess that’s kind of the same as yours, isn’t it?”

“Oh, no no no,” I answered.  I’ve read all those articles about how you should make your resolutions things that are actually possible, so as not to set yourself up for failure.  Therefore, as I told her, “I don’t actually have to be any nicer to people.  I’m just going to try not to get so irritated by them.”  If I’m really successful at keeping my resolution this year, no one will ever even notice. 

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Amy Shearn

I See Pregnant People

November 26th, 2008
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

It is a phenomenon that began the first month we were “trying.” While on vacation this summer in Quebec we were seated in a restaurant and my husband started laughing – above my head hung a large, rather grotesquely vivid painting of hugely pregnant woman in a red dress. As I anxiously awaited the day when I could pee on an informative stick, they only seemed to multiply. One would be standing beside me in the elevator, another would follow me onto the subway. It didn’t help that we live in a neighborhood that seems, in certain seasons, a kind of hothouse experiment in human fertility. There it was – there were pregnant women everywhere.

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Amy Shearn

It Sure Can Get Cold in Des Moines

November 6th, 2008
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY –

As far as I can tell every writer has a book reading war story or two, wherein one travels 10 hours through blizzards or cross-country on a full-fare plane ticket in order to read to a snoozing hobo and a handful of bookstore employees. Perhaps this is what my publishers had in mind when I asked about giving readings in support of my first novel and they responded, “Eh, we don’t really do that so much.” For nobodies like me, is what they meant. I happen to know that in the weeks before my book came out my publicist was absolutely slammed with managing Pat Buchanan’s book tour. What does Pat Buchanan have that I don’t? This is not the first time I’ve asked myself this question.

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Amy Shearn

The Bathrobe

October 16th, 2008
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY -

I don’t think of myself as superstitious, I guess, but what with the whole bathrobe situation I’m having to rethink that theory.

Lately I have been eying my ratty old bathrobe with disdain. It is red fleece and very cozy, but pilling all over and going a bit black at the cuffs, and I’m afraid the insides of the pockets have not fared well from years of used kleenexes being stuffed inside of them. So when recently my mother-in-law, who is a ninja of birthday gift-giving, bestowed upon my lucky self a Gap gift certificate, I happily counted among my purchases a new bathrobe.

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Amy Shearn

Corner Store Wars

September 1st, 2008
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

When I am describing (or defending, depending on the attitude of questioner) my choice to live in the yuppie stronghold of Park Slope, I often list chief among its charms convenience, “since after all,” I add, hoping to be contradicted, “I am extremely lazy.”

I guess I can forgive people for not contradicting me. It’s pretty true, at least in terms of food preparation. When my husband and I “cook” it involves things like applying heat to a pan of refried beans. We rarely conjure the organization or gumption for a big grocery shop. Instead, we are spectacularly undiscplined, considering what to eat for dinner approximately ten minutes before we plan to be actually eating it. But it’s not our fault.  Our neighborhood has lulled us into this state. It’s just too convenient.

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Amy Shearn

My Life in Midtown, or, The Day Job

August 10th, 2008
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY-

Working in Manhattan can be an exciting, thrilling experience, but it doesn’t have to be. For the first year of my legitimate-office-job-having life, I worked in a building entrenched in a cozy block of 7th Avenue, spitting distance from two of the most impressively banal landmarks in this city: Times Square and Macy’s. Now, things can get pretty hectic in busy digital media what with the constant barrage of emails, IMs, phone calls, and that woman from accounting shrilly dictating lists of numbers into her speaker phone. I soon learned, therefore, how valuable it was for the mental health of any office worker to unwinch one’s shoulders from their hunched slump, peer away from the computer screen, and make one’s way out into the city.

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