Essays

iris backpack

The thing that makes television news convenient — economy of time and words and pictures — is the very thing that has frustrated me more times than I can remember. We go to journalism school and we spend our careers striving for accuracy, impact, brevity. But when you’re a windbag like me, you spend your career pleading with producers for that extra 12 seconds or two minutes, whining to your coworkers and your bosses that your story is worth the extra time. The reality is that what I’m so desperate to share often isn’t newsworthy. It’s sometimes bizarre, borderline inappropriate, or entirely irrelevant to the story. But I really wanted you to know it. Which is why I’m here. Irrelevancy never felt so good.

  • When…

    I am sitting next to her in the front seat of our metallic blue Chevy Monte Carlo, my bare feet dangling above the floorboards, the backs of my skinny legs sticking to the vinyl seat. My mother is at the wheel, also barefoot, her toes eternally painted bright pink, navigating the winding back roads to ...

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  • Splintered

    I am four people away from getting my single Friday night margarita when I see my husband frantically waving me out of line at our favorite taco joint. I had been deep in conversation with a dad behind me who was giving me his opinion of the public middle school our son is slated to ...

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  • About A Boy

    Epiphany is a big word. We’ve all had them, the aha moment that awakens you to a new truth. For my friend Jake Burke, his epiphany happened in the middle of a McDonald’s six years ago. “We were in line and this gentleman ahead of us turns to Jack and says, ‘What’s wrong with your eye?’ But ...

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  • Starbucks Shot o’ Truth

    Yesterday I received a FB message from a friend of mine who was at Starbucks during what is normally a packed morning rush. ‘I’m sitting at one of the busiest Starbucks in Atlanta at the intersection of Mansell Rd and Alpharetta Highway in Roswell. It is EMPTY. It is usually overflowing with people. I asked the ...

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  • Week 1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWU0dyDf8pk   It has been one week. For some of you, it’s the week your country started heading in a better direction. For others, it’s the week that everything you care about went to hell in a hand basket. We are living in a world where truth is debated and facts can be alternative. A long time ago a priest ...

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  • Second Act

    I was about a mile from my house when I noticed it. A tiny bug on the windshield of my car that had likely been there since I pulled out of my driveway. His veiny, delicate cellophane wings were flapping furiously in the wind, his minuscule feet fighting to stay in place on my windshield. ...

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  • The Outside In

    He definitely wasn’t reading. He kept flipping through the same pages, stopping and pretending to read, his eyes darting up to look around every 30 seconds or so. He was tucked into one of the few comfy chairs, one hand flipping pages, the other resting against his cheek. Just a dude in a Starbucks reading a ...

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  • In Between

    Many years ago I stood in the doorway of my new studio apartment, one of my best friends facing me. We stared at each other, wordless, tears streaming down our faces. I didn’t want to close the door, because then it would be real. Her visit to see how I was doing had to end sometime. ...

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  • A Plea

    The low point for me was when a neighbor had a sign stolen from her yard and posted about it in the security section of our neighborhood website. Fifty commenters chastised her for the name on that sign. They made fun of where she was from (another country). They asked how much she would pay ...

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  • Ugly Vote

    As a critic of people who try to portray perfection on social media, I need to call out — myself. I posted this photo yesterday after I voted. There we are, the mommy and her children, blissed out by the voting process. The reality is that this photo followed a total sh$% show motherhood moment. I came up ...

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  • Kissing Frogs

    My excuse for telling my 9 year old daughter who she should marry is that I was delirious. It happened as she was kissing me good night and tucking me in. I get up at 2 am for my job, so my children put me to bed each night. Before you picture sweet hugs and giggles and ...

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  • Deadwrong

    My husband and I screwed up so badly last weekend that we didn’t even try to blame each other. Imagine that, a giant screw up in which neither spouse points the finger at the other. Yep, that’s how obviously awful it was. You know how the scary movie always begins with a scene so idyllic it ...

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  • The Break Up

    There were signs I should have noticed. That’s always the way with hindsight. He was unhappy. Complaining. Even angry. I still didn’t think my husband would do it, even though he’d been threatening to do it for months. I mean, who can really break up with Facebook? Social media is a significant part of our daily lives. For ...

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  • Gold Medal Mama

    My after work snack the other day was smoked salmon on thin, golden toasted bread sprinkled with just the right amount of capers and minced red onion. Yesterday, I devoured homemade chicken salad, hand picked from a roasted chicken that would also go on to become a beautifully aromatic soup. All of this was served ...

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  • Black and Blue

    A few years into my journalism career, I became friends with a fellow reporter. When you’re young in the business, small town newsrooms are makeshift college campuses, everyone living on next to nothing paychecks, far from home, pooling their resources for cheap beer and pizza at whomever’s apartment has enough chairs. This kind of reporter ...

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