Writing Samples

MY MOTHERLESS MOTHER 

The New York Times


“I need to talk to you,” my 90-year-old mother announced in a stern tone usually reserved for reprimanding a child. Visiting her in Florida, I noticed increasing balance problems and short-term memory lapses, early signs of Lewy body dementia. She perched on the bench of the organ my father had learned to play in retirement. And she began to recite, like someone eager to have her past documented by an oral historian.
 


JUST AN ORDINARY MISCARRIAGE 

The New York Times 

Outstanding Essay Award, American Society of Journalists & Authors


“It’ll be a breeze,” my husband predicted when I showed him the positive results of the home pregnancy test. My obstetrician said, “We have to be cautious until the end of the first trimester — until it’s ‘glued in.’” There was a chapter in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” ominously titled “When Things Go Wrong.” I was avoiding reading that section, yet I knew — even though nobody really talked about miscarriage, the way people never used to discuss cancer.
 


RAISING MY MOTHER

The Chicago Tribune

Outstanding Essay Award, American Society of Journalists & Authors; Authors


I received a Mother's Day card, filled with childlike prose, colorful illustrations and glittery hearts. The cover's message, in a purple playful font: For you, Mom. For kissing my boo-boos, for wiping my face/For calming my fears with your loving embrace. This card was not from my daughter — a disconcerting fact, but not entirely surprising either.

AN OCEAN AWAY FROM THE SANCTUARY OF MANHATTAN, SIGNS OF PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

Longreads

As a Jewish New Yorker, Candy Schulman is surprised to find a small town in Andalusia celebrating the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures, despite the area's dark racist history.

 

JE SUIS A MOTHER IN THE AGE OF TERROR 

The Washington Post
Best American Essays, Notable Honors


Many tears are shed in airports. I am crying because I’m sending my 20-year-old daughter off for a semester abroad in Paris—five hours after three terrorists were killed. I nearly canceled her flight. For three days I agonized as the horrific events occurred, from the Charlie Hebdo massacre to the nightmare of an ending that left hostages dead at a Jewish market. As an American, I grieved for senseless French, Muslim, and Jewish deaths. As a parent, I feared for my child’s safety in an increasingly frightening world.

 

DON'T JUDGE ME BECAUSE OF MY AGE

AARP

 

How I'm speaking out against discrimination.
 


SECRETS OF MY MOTHER'S JEWELRY BOX 

The Forward

Best American Essays, Notable Honors


‘I’m doing this because I love you,” my mother insisted. For decades she tried to prepare me for her inevitable demise. Long before she succumbed to dementia, in between golf tournaments, she’d drag me to the bank vault every time I visited her in Florida, to give me a private tour of her safety deposit box. She’d point out her will, stock certificates and a piece of kitschy jewelry she used to wear to canasta games: a French poodle pin with a blue rhinestone collar. And there was a mysterious envelope titled “To Be Opened Only After My Death.
 


MY DAUGHTER BECAME MY TEMPORARY CARETAKER

The Washington Post “On Parenting"


I needed surgery for an infected tooth. The dentist assured me that after five shots of Novocain, the procedure wouldn’t be painful. Except for the bill, I wanted to say. But something else made me uneasy: relying on my daughter to retrieve me, with a reusable ice pack on my cheek, and to escort me home. I wasn’t ready for her to be my mother.
 


YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST BIKE 

The New York Times "Ties" Column

When I outgrew my tricycle, my mother never replaced my wheels. Enviously I watched as the other kids in my neighborhood mounted their shiny Schwinns, confident cowkids on imaginary mares. They wobbled side to side on training wheels, inserted cards into the spokes as noisemakers, and sailed by with colorful banners flowing from handlebars. I was the one kid on the block with only feet as transportation.
 


LEWY BODY DEMENTIA HAS SYMPTOMS EVEN WORSE THAN ALZHEIMER’S

The Washington Post

My mother’s greatest fear was Alzheimer’s. She got Lewy body dementia, or LBD, instead. This little known, oddly named, debilitating illness afflicts an estimated 1.3 million Americans, the actor and comedian Robin Williams possibly among them. It is often misdiagnosed because its signs, such as hallucinations and body rigidity, do not seem like those of dementia, but in the end it robs people of themselves even more painfully.

 


WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EMPTY NESTING

McSweeney's Internet Tendency

After dropping my daughter off for freshman orientation, I mourned for months as if sitting shiva. Then I woke up from my sad stupor and asked God: Why do they have to come home again?
 


FOOD REVIEWS BY THIRD GRADER

The Rumpus Funny Women


MAC ’N CHEESE: LOVE YOUR PLANET SHAPES
An updated Wisconsin Valley classic that hits the middle of your tongue like butter. Refined and velvety, a tyke’s take on spaghetti carbonara, albeit without that bacon nose or abundance of smoke. Marvelously harmonious with mushy overcooked elegance, drawing you subliminally into its orbit with a delectable smoothness and a silky finish. It’s like liquid cashmere in your mouth. The King of Kid Dinners, it has a creamy texture suitable for casual dining on backyard swing sets. Clueless children consume boxed dinners daily until puberty, but I turned up my culinary nose years ahead of this developmental milestone.

 


THE RESTRICTIVE MARRIAGE THAT CHANGED MY MARRIAGE

New York Magazine “The Cut"


We fell in love with food at the same time that we fell in love with each other. Our romance began with a blind-date dinner, at a restaurant that coincidentally was one of my parents’ favorites. Horn of Plenty was soulful Southern cuisine, comfort food for urbane Yankees. At our table in the vine-draped back garden, Steve and I clinked wineglasses, unknowingly toasting to the beginning of our life together.
 


LAY OFF THE BAD MOTHER ON THE BUS

The New York Daily News “Op-Ed”
Featured on NY 1 Channel “In The News”


A mother wearily boarded the uptown bus, struggling with an energetic 18-month-old and a stroller. The baby urgently whined through a pacifier, escalating into shrieks the more her mother ignored her. Plugged into ear buds, the mother looked tired, overburdened, alone.
 


WHY DIDN’T I HAVE MORE CHILDREN?

Next Tribe


You should have had more children,” my mother-in-law tells me every time we speak on the phone. She’s 96, plagued with memory problems, often repeating conversations multiple times in a row, like an old vinyl LP skipping in place.
 


THE LITTLE SECRET SO MANY PARENTS SHARE 

The Girlfriend, from AARP


Every pregnant woman gets asked the same question: “Do you want a boy or a girl?” And we all respond: “I don’t care. All I want is a healthy baby.” I said the same thing. But in a way we all lie. Secretly we have other wishes for our unborn children. I never confessed out loud that what I really wanted was a ballerina. I planned to give birth to one, convinced I’d have more influence over my future child’s destiny than DNA or inborn personality traits.
 


HELLO ACID REFLUX, BYE BYE COFFEE AND WINE

PBS Next Avenue


I go through five stages of grief when my doctor tells me I have to cut out coffee and wine due to acid reflux.


HAVING MY BODY ISSUES STRIPPED BARE AMONG EUROPEAN SUN BATHERS

Ravishly
Performed at “Generation Women”


“Are you English?” the topless woman inquired, leaning over my beach chair. I didn’t want to stare, but how could I not? She was in her late 40’s, tall and quite trim, seamlessly bronzed from bikini bottom all the way up, without interfering bathing suit lines. She had beautiful breasts, a C-cup, I estimated.