Author Archive
Stories written by Rachael Allen

The Nostalgic Commercialism of Holiday Time

At 13, I stopped posing for Christmas cards. I finally felt too old to dress up in red and green and stand with my dog on the front steps for a photograph that would be placed on a bookshelf or a mantelpiece or a stack on the kitchen counter in the home of someone too […]

Margin Notes: Girl, Traveling Alone

On one of our last nights in Bologna, my American friend and I went to a wine bar that we heard was the oldest in the city and, perhaps, in all of Italy. Turning off of an alleyway into an even smaller alleyway, we walked back and forth a few times before recognizing the nondescript […]

Margin Notes: Good Books

This summer, I worked in a bookstore, a job I’ve wanted — and idealized — for a long time. “It doesn’t matter what work they’ll have me doing,” I told my mom insistently when she pointed out the other work that comes with the job. “I’ll be able to talk with people about books.” Then […]

Margin Notes: Speak

On Mondays, I help teach English to Italian fourth graders. It’s not so much teaching as giving short vocabulary presentations then helping them write sentences — which turns into a Q&A. “Do you eat corn dogs in America?” one boy asks me. “Does Trump live in Massachusetts?” another asks. The 9 year olds all giggle […]

Margin Notes: Small Talk

A few weeks ago, I had a string of awkward hellos — at least, I thought so. First, I walk past a boy who works on the student newspaper with me. We wave and trade “how are yous.” I respond, “Good,” but he says, “Oh, you know, fine,” an answer that perhaps suggests something more […]

Margin Notes: Politics and Trust

During a visit to my college last weekend, I saw an exhibit in the art museum. One wall of the gallery displayed a series of eye charts, each assigned to a president up until George Bush. Instead of letters, words ran down the chart in decreasing font, the largest signifying the word that president said […]

Margin Notes: To My Niece

Last week I saw you for the first time since your birth in August. I’ve been in school and my sister, your mom, in another state and now you are no longer a squished newborn but a wide-eyed, responsive 5 month old. Babies scare me, in the way of one who doesn’t know how to […]

Margin Notes: Applying in the New Year

As a season of holidays and, for many students, applications, winter break indulges our desire to review. We review the world through top news stories, photographs, books, movies, and say another prayer before time pushes tragedies into the archives. We review ourselves, reprimanding our failings, remembering our successes, and attempting to move on, the calendar’s […]

Margin Notes: Movements of Social Media

A few weeks ago, my college’s security director sent out an email about an incident earlier that night concerning a student’s safety walking alone, the most recent in a series of incidents over the past weeks that have left our small town campus on edge. Within only a few hours of the email, almost all […]

Margin Notes: Ready for the Political

In September, I saw Hillary Clinton. She was speaking at a grassroots organization in Portland, Maine, only 30 minutes from my school. Convinced of my need to be more involved (my political history consists of dinner conversations with my dad and stretches of following the news), I decided to attend with a few friends. We […]

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