Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Pak’s Alterations squatted third from the corner, one of a handful of tiny businesses that butted up against each other, along the block. A rare books shop, a used-record store, a juice bar. Their doors opened right onto the sidewalk, hand-lettered signs on cardboard stuck in the windows. …


photo by author

As a writer, I journal. As an over-thinker, I catalog.

Obsessed with writing stuff down, I’m also compelled to impose a filing system on the stuff I write down. While others might keep a traditional journal, i.e. …


Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

I turned sixty-five and signed up for Medicare. After ten years of being an uninsured writer, I’d finally have health insurance. After a decade of taking a number at a clinic, I looked forward to personal attention.

I studied the provider list in my Personal Plan Operations Insurance Company…


Photo by Yoel Winkler on Unsplash

Studying my latest essay, my critique partner comments, “In this scene, relish the victory more.”

I’m stumped. I don’t know what it feels like to relish.

Like many writers, I’ve got a chronic case of failure to pat myself on the back. I don’t stop to acknowledge the small or…


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It seemed like time for the next monthly meeting of my favorite book club, but the announcement had not yet landed in my in-box.

When BLK + BRWN Bookstore opened its doors on Juneteenth this year, I was smitten immediately. I liked the clean modern lines. I liked seeing the…


Photo by Amol Tyagi on Unsplash

A girlfriend told me she loved to hop in her car and take day trips by herself, and she kayaked solo whenever she had the chance. She enjoyed her own company as much as she enjoyed the company of others. She called it dating herself. The whole idea astonished me.


Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash

I’m waiting for aspirin to dull the morning ache in my neck.

I’m waiting for my yoga teacher to let me into Zoom class.

I’m waiting for caffeine to turn my grogginess to zoom-zoom-zoom.

I’m waiting for my mind to get quiet. Time to meditate.

I’m waiting for my mind…


Photo by Nhia Moua on Unsplash

When I was a kid, it didn’t pay to get sick or have a toothache. Nobody was going to take you to a doctor or dentist. Health insurance? Are you kidding? Tummy ache? Suck it up and don’t whine.

When I became a working woman, the magic of insurance gradually…


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
  • I’m going to paint the bathroom.
  • I wish I had a second pair of yoga tights.
  • I hate cooking.
  • Mouse!
  • The bathroom needs cleaning.
  • Rubber rain boots might be on sale.
  • My right leg is longer than my left.
  • The laundry’s piling up.
  • Nobody’s going to read this.
  • My glasses…


an antique drawing of a skeleton
an antique drawing of a skeleton
An antique illustration of the human body (1900) by Larousse, Pierre; Augé and Claude. Digitally enhanced from our own original plate.” by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel

Dawn Downey

Dawn Downey writes about love and pain. Her latest book is Blindsided: Essays from the Only Black Woman in the Room. DawnDowneyBlog.com.

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