Excerpt from The Weight of Stuff
My grandmother once told me she had never loved my grandfather. When she was sixteen, she met Grandpa Harry, both of them fresh off the boat from Russia, trying to make a new life in Montreal. Soon after their brief love affair, his family moved to Brooklyn, and two years later, when her family settled in Brooklyn, they reunited. But my grandmother didn’t feel any passion when they met again. “I felt pressure to marry him,” she said. “Because of this, I never was happy.” A year after my mother was born, during the height of the Depression, my grandmother had an abortion. “We couldn’t afford to have another child just then,” she told me. But the abortion left her sterile. And while my grandfather pieced fur coats together in the garment district, rumor had it that my grandmother carried on an affair with his best friend. During the last years of her life, my grandmother’s humped back would grow bigger, heavier, until her legs finally gave out.
Lori Horvitz’ short stories, poetry and personal essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Chattahoochee Review, Epiphany, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Hotel Amerika, Thirteenth Moon, Tusculum Review, and Quarter After Eight. Her essays have been included in two Seal Press anthologies: P.S.: What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends and Dear John, I’m in Love With Jane. She has been awarded writing fellowships from Fundación Valparaiso, The Ragdale Foundation, Yaddo, Cottages at Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Blue Mountain Center. Horvitz is Professor of Literature and Language at University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she teaches courses in creative writing, literature, and directs their Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.
Sarah Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the prose editor for Stirring: A Literary Collective and the special projects editor for Brevity Magazine. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.