Story by Mariya Karimjee
A young woman from Karachi doesn’t discover how intense Islam can be…until moving to Texas.
Is there anything more magnificently “American” than a massive Christmas tree towering above an ice rink in a Houston, Texas, shopping mall? To Mariya Karimjee, newly arrived from Karachi, Pakistan, on the eve of the new millenium, that gaudy, dazzling symbol of “opportunity” propelled her into adolescence in a community that couldn’t have been further from home — but not for the reasons you’d expect. Her story offers a fresh, vital perspective on coming of age, and it’s a stark reminder of how America’s most historically visible traditions and defining events affect each of us in profoundly different ways. – Noah Rosenberg, Founder and CEO
Story by Erica Garza
Countless couples have tackled the taboo subject of racy videos and illicit orgasms. What happens when it’s the woman who can’t stop watching?
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Out of all the amazing pieces to choose from, as someone who’s no stranger to disclosing deeply personal details of my life in Narratively stories, the first memoir that popped into my mind as a favorite through the years was Erica Garza’s I’m Married. I’m a Woman. I’m Addicted to Porn. Erica was awesome to work with. She’s such a talent and it was no shock to me that she was able to score a book deal for a deeper-dive manuscript into her issues with sex. The title of that book, Getting Off, is about as good as the headline to her Narratively memoir, which was my primary contribution to the story’s success, as I recall her first draft was really strong and editing her work was a breeze. When the publication’s staffers think to themselves, ‘What makes a story a Narratively story?’ one of the most important requirements for the work is that it pulls the curtain back on some element of society to reveal something new. In this case, we have a woman, a wife, addicted to porn, after we’ve already been fed tons of stories about the pitfalls of sex addiction from the perspective of men, husbands and boyfriends. So, Erica’s piece was fresh, and for the hound-dog dudes who might think, “Boy, I wouldn’t mind a sex- and porn-addicted partner in my life,” think again. – Michael Stahl, former Features Editor
Erica went on to expand her essay into a full-length memoir! Read our Storyteller Spotlight interview with her here.
Story by Caroline Rothstein
My dad was one of the only people with a good-for-life, go-anywhere American Airlines pass. Then they took it away. This is the true story of having—and losing—a superpower.
We love blurring boundaries, and no story does that more perfectly than Caroline Rothstein’s epic Man with the Golden Airline Ticket, a blended memoir/reported piece that tells the incredible true story of how Caroline’s father secured a lifetime go-anywhere-anytime pass from American Airlines, and the battle that ensued when they tried to take it away. Caroline approached the memoir components of this piece with such professionalism and care—interrogating her own memoires, interviewing her family members, and diving into the past to reveal parts of her own story that she never knew—which is exactly what memoir should do. It’s no surprise this is one of our all-time most-read pieces and currently in development as a feature film with a major partner (announcement to come soon!). – Brendan Spiegel, Editorial Director and Co-Founder
Story by Lena Crown
Our wealthy California school had a hookup game where boys “drafted” girls, then tracked their sex acts. A decade later, my classmates still debate whether “FSL” was harmless teenage hijinks or a symptom of toxic rot in our elite enclave.
I loved working with Lena on her piece, My High School’s Secret Fantasy Slut League, because it allowed her to investigate part of her past. Many of us have had scandals at our high school but rarely work through their impact on our classmates into adulthood. – Julia Métraux, Contributing Editor
Story by Erica Garza
My high school boyfriend and I made a bet: he’d learn about my religion, Mormonism, if I took up his religion, running. Neither of us was ready for what came next.
It’s kind of funny that I’m so proud of this story because I had nothing to do with what made it great. I was hanging out with my kid in the children’s section at Barnes & Noble when the pitch came in and it was so good that I read the entire thing on my phone. It was basically letter perfect—I think I advised the writer to make a few small tweaks, but basically all I did was rush to get it on the site as quickly as possible. It’s a truly beautiful piece. – W.M. Akers, former Senior Editor
Story by Christine Ochs-Naderer
I married my childhood best friend when we were still young…then fell in love with my running partner. Welcome to a love triangle more intense than any marathon.
My favorite story is actually probably not one I edited, but I Professed My Love at Mile 15…But Not to My Husband: This story has stayed with me long after first reading it for two things: its wrenching honesty and its profound humanness. Here, Ochs-Nader explores love as it is: intimate, devastating, difficult and redemptive. A brave story, beautifully told. – Farah Mohammed, former Contributing Editor
Story by Davon Clark
When I bumped into the other Davon Clark in college, it was funny. When friends confused our dating profiles, it was weird. When he got in trouble with the cops, my life started to fall apart.
This story starts with the writer’s surprise to learn he’s not the only Black wrestler named Davon Clark on his college campus. After his “name twin” is arrested and people start confusing the two, Davon uses the incident as a jumping-off point for a deftly poetic and moving essay about the impossibility of outrunning our online identities, the limits of allyship, and the unfair expectations placed on millennial Black men. Davon’s realizations about how to make peace with his shared name should inspire anyone concerned with how the outside world sees them — that is to say, all of us. – Naomi Zeveloff, former Guest Editor
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