Smoke


By Amanda Knox

Having been born, grown up, and lived in Seattle for the majority of my life, I am both familiar and comfortable with a cloudy sky. Where transplants from sunnier states can find the rain oppressive and are disconcerted by the enduring swathes of dull to bright grey blanketing the sky, I am comforted by the introspective mists and the silver depths of the clouds rising above. I can breathe.

Last Sunday was different. Last Sunday was something I do not remember seeing in all my twenty-eight years. It was a weird, dry, harsh, cough-inducing haze—like fog, but the opposite of fog.

“It’s really L.A. out right now,” Colin observed in the car on our way home from running errands.
“What do you mean?” I asked, squinting.
“I mean, the weather, it reminds me of Southern California.”
“All the weird dust in the air?”
“That’s smoke, babe.”

My heart clenched, probably in the same instinctual way that a field mouse’s heart clenches when it senses the same thing: smoke. Fire.

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Star Wars and rediscovering the familiar

By Amanda Knox

When I think about watching Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, I remember cuddling up with my mom and sister in Mom’s big (or so it seemed at the time) bed after popping the VHS into the built-in slot of a chunky, 32” TV perched on her dresser. Warm in our fleece pajamas, we passed between us a freshly microwaved bag of extra-butter popcorn and endlessly sucked on our salty, oil-stained fingertips. After the previews, a conspiratory hush settled, and I tempered my giddy anticipation in order to dutifully recite the opening crawl, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...”

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Column-writing and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores

By Amanda Knox

As I take up the reins of Kyra-lin Hom’s weekly column, I am riding a warm wave of romanticism after reading the story of another columnist of a local paper, albeit a fictional one—the unnamed protagonist of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

It is a credit to Marquez that he could inspire a feminist like myself to feel butterflies when the novella’s premise is so repulsive. The opening words are the protagonist’s: “The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.” Standing on the upper landing of the bookstore, pausing in the process of shelving a stack of fiction titles to read this line, my eyebrow rose in the way a cat’s back-fur bristles. “Oh, really…” I thought.

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