Four years of Trump rage was awful. What lies beneath it is harder still.

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On Route 502 outside Scranton. Photo by Patrick Joyce.

One thing you never hear about primal screaming is how much it hurts, specifically the throat and the torso muscles. I’ve noticed that people who scoff at the idea have never tried it. They’ve never sequestered themselves away from anyone whom they might alarm, dug down into the gut, and searched for a starting point. They’ve never taken a deep breath and dived in, the exhale a stuck gear grinding to life in the diaphragm, tearing through the upper body only with great effort, vibrating the sternum, scraping the vocal cords with its metal. You don’t want it too high-pitched…


I want to love the wild. I really, really do.

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Photo: Pablo Kaufmann

I’m hiking up the Pipiwai Trail near Hana, Maui when the open landscape of moss, ferns, and majestic banyan trees suddenly gives way to bamboo forest. Thousands of stalks, just inches from each other, reach 80 feet into the air, blocking the midday sun and all noise. That’s when my lizard brain jerks awake, wondering how we went from day to night in mere seconds.

My heart thumps, my skin tingles, and a dawning sense of paralysis slows my pace. Stop! says the lizard. Turn around! It’s dark in here…


An immodest proposal for a new world order. Hear me out.

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photo credit: Scott Beck

VIRTUE SIGNAL: In my twenties, when brick and mortar porn shops still existed, I drove over to the triple-X video store in Sacramento with a sign that said, “PORN DEGRADES WOMEN.” That was the same year I threw my makeup into the trash and stopped shaving my legs. Whenever I passed a San Francisco strip club with a dancer gyrating in the entryway, I’d attempt an earnest conversation with her about self-esteem and oppression.

TRIGGER WARNING: Twenty years later, I wasn’t only wearing makeup and getting bikini waxes, I…


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9/11 Memorial North Pool by Axel Houmadi on Unsplash

The first eight months of 2001 had not been great. My dad and brother had both gone into rehab, each for their own personal poison. In July, I’d abruptly been fired. One moment I was sitting in my quiet office at a national magazine, the next an HR woman was at the door with papers to sign. Five minutes later I was carrying a box of notebooks and photos through an empty hallway, my coworkers all intentionally clustered in a conference room far from the action.

That same night, after I’d arrived home, my oldest friend called to tell me…


The problem isn’t turbulence. The problem is existential dread.

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It’s 4 a.m., and I’m lying on the floor of the aft galley on a Boeing 737 headed for Mexico City. The cabin is dark, most of the passengers asleep. But back here in the service area behind the toilets, in a cold corner between the exit door and docked beverage cart, there’s enough fluorescent light to spot crumbs and tiny liquid stains on the floor a few inches from my face.

I’m not worried about germs, or how I must look to the man who just stumbled into the restroom…


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Why are we obsessed with the murder of young white women?

When I was a kid, I loved horror movies. In college, I migrated to moody foreign and indie films like Betty Blue, Paris Texas, and After Hours. But the accretion of my own adult problems and my awareness of the world’s perennial suffering soon led me away from dark films to what I’d call Escapist Feminism: Thelma and Louise, My Best Friend’s Wedding (where Julia Roberts gives up the mile-wide smile for real human foibles), and the perfectly crafted Muriel’s Wedding. After that phase, I simply sought beauty, whether visual or emotional. …

Robin Rinaldi

robinrinaldi.com ~ author of THE WILD OATS PROJECT ~ NYT ~ Atlantic ~ O Mag ~ Poets & Writers ~ editor ~ bookie’s daughter ~ auntie

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