Fantasyland: Only Camp

Only CampBy Emily Jean

The other day I fell in love with a dress I knew I couldn’t afford on one of the overwhelmingly delicious racks at Urban Outfitters. And after experiencing the back and forth battles of joy versus angst and I-Cant-Live-Without-This versus Broke-Ass-College-Kid, I realized that the dress represented more than just floral, cotton, and my entire paycheck. It represented a Friday night on a beautiful peninsula in Middle-of-Nowhere, MO. The dress represented too many posey photographs taken in front of the mural outside the dining hall, hairy Shabbos chicken and dry chocolate cake, checking for daddy long legs on the chapel benches at services before returning to sitting after the Mourner’s Kaddish, and lots and lots of clapping, dancing, and cheering out random words in Yiddish. Camp’s Shabbat was all up in that dress, because plainly and simply, thoughts of camp are always all up in my mind.

Continue reading


Teaching, or Trying

By Michael Gutgsell

This month I am starting my fourth year in Chicago. I came to this city with big hopes that I would be able to leave behind part-time minimum wage work and the naive belief that an internship would open doors for me. I came to Chicago educated, hard-working, and excited for my new life.

I showed up at the refugee resettlement agency believing I was to be an assistant English instructor to adult refugees. Instead, after having me shadow all of three classes (in which the instructor read directly from a worksheet and had the students repeat after him for three hours), I was given control of an entire class for the rest of the year. Continue reading

Quarter Life

empty-storefront-11By Sydney Maier

It was mid-February. I spent a few minutes trying to decide whether I was dying of heat stroke from the noon day sun pressing right in my face, or simply from boredom.

I had, as always, completed my day’s worth of tasks in about seven minutes: check the messages (none); check my email (none); take the ‘closed’ sign off the door. Each hour was a week, which meant today was five weeks long. The thought was exhausting.  Continue reading