Going Deep: Spend an Afternoon with These Lengthy Stories

In this reading list of some of the best longform writing recently published on WordPress, you’ll find stories about fatherhood, a woman’s quiet sorrow, an analytical look at sumo wrestling, and more.

“Numbered,” Another Damn Life

On the quiet, lonesome experience of having a miscarriage.

Not everyone’s miscarriage experience is the same, and not everyone wants to talk about it. But I found myself wanting to talk about it and not knowing how. What was there to say? “Buncha blood came out of my crotch the other night, boy was that a trip!” I mean, what? It’s not an easy topic to volunteer information on, so I said nothing. And no one asked, because why would they? And I began to see how we got here; why miscarriages remain shadowy, nebulous concepts. Because even when there is a conversation, it usually goes like this:

Woman: “I had a miscarriage.”
Everyone else: “Oh no, that sucks.”

And then no one talks about it again. The whole thing may as well have happened to a stranger on a remote island.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

“Hamilton,” Joe Posnanski

Joe Posnanski, a columnist for NBC Sports, writes about the marvelous experience of taking his daughter to see the smash-hit musical Hamilton.

So, while it’s fresh in my mind now, I cannot imagine forgetting any detail of sitting with Elizabeth while we watched Hamilton. But I will forget. I will forget the details of this difficult but hopeful year. I will forget the size of eyes as she stared at the stage and tried to memorize it. I will forget because the years pile on, and memories cloud as they bump into each other, and I barely remember where I was yesterday.

But she will remember. That’s the thing.

“13, right now,” Jessica Contrera

A snapshot of the American girl at age 13, as described in the Washington Post.

Right now, Katherine is still looking down.

“See this girl,” she says, “she gets so many likes on her pictures because she’s posted over nine pictures saying, ‘Like all my pictures for a tbh, comment when done.’ So everyone will like her pictures, and she’ll just give them a simple tbh.”

A tbh is a compliment. It stands for “to be heard” or “to be honest.”


“The Sumo Matchup Centuries In The Making,” Benjamin Morris

At FiveThirtyEight, Morris uses data to compare two sumo legends separated in time by hundreds of years:

Before Hakuho (born in 1985), before Taiho (born in 1940), before Hitachiyama (born in 1874), before Jinmaku (born in 1829), before the United States of America (born in 1776), there was Raiden.

A legend of Japan’s Edo period, Raiden set a standard for greatness in the sport that would last hundreds of years. With centuries separating the two legends’ careers, Raiden vs. Hakuho may be one of the most time-bending sports comparisons imaginable.

Fortunately, we have data.

Illustration by: Kjell Reigstad
Illustration by: Kjell Reigstad

“This Is to Mother You: On Caring for a Toxic Parent in Her Greatest Time of Need,” Jane Demuth

When her challenging, cancer-ridden mother suffers a psychotic break, Jane Demuth searches for the wherewithal to help the person who once demanded the most of her.

In the ER, she ignores everyone else when I walk into the room. Her first words when she sees me are, “Boy, do I have a story for you,” and she’s right. She does. My brother and sister are already there, and she tells us in great detail about the hospital’s convoluted conspiracy to kill her, how she cannot trust those who care for her. This is not the profound truth I told myself to listen for. It’s simply a variation on what she’s been telling me for my entire life.

Looking for more? Check out our longreads category on Discover, or Longreads.com for more longform story recommendations.

June 2, 2016Longreads, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parenting, Reading, Storytelling, Writing