For the third year in a row, I am participating in #MWE, an exercise where you listen to one new-to-you album every day in the month of February and then write one tweet about it. I’ve found some new albums and artists to love the past two years and I’m hoping this year is no different.

I’ll update this every day until February and the exercise is done, so check back each morning (I usually do these at like 3am) for a new record. …


I am a writer.

Or, am I? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know the rules about calling yourself a writer, and my confusion is made worse by people who put restrictions on what it takes to call yourself a writer. Do you do it full time? Do you do it every day? Do you get paid for it? Do people read what you write? Do any of these things matter?

I do write every day. I write essays. I write fiction. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes I get paid for those words, sometimes they just linger on substack, waiting for…


Gratitude normally comes easy. You can sit down and tick off a list of things you’re thankful for in under a minute. Family, friends, life. But what happens when “normally” is non existent and you’re not seeing your family or friends and life is just harrowing?

We might have to reach back a little further this year for the gratitude. It might not be there, on the tip of your tongue, waiting to spill out as you go around the Thanksgiving table and say what you’re thankful for. …


Anxiety and depression are lonely afflictions. You often feel like no one understands you, that you are alone in how you feel and act on a daily basis, that the world does not want to hear about your despair. Maybe you go to therapy, maybe you write in a journal, but that’s the extent of sharing how debilitating your mental health issues are; it’s all between you and your therapist or you and yourself. No one else needs to know, because no one else will get it.

I’ve tried to explain my general anxiety disorder to people before, how it’s…


Do for yourself, people tell me. Treat yourself well. Indulge every once in a while.

I have tried to take this advice most of my adult life, but never could really muster what I needed to splurge on myself. Oh, I love spending money. I love buying things. But I love buying things for other people. I will gladly throw down a hundred dollars on something for one of my kids or my husband, but spending that kind of money on myself always seemed a little self indulgent, and I did not have room in my psyche for that. I…


My family hates watching Jeopardy! with me because of my tendency to blurt out the answers before Alex Trebek finished reading what was on the board. My mother would remind me that Alex would chastise me for this; but I was in the comfort of home and not in the Jeopardy! studio, so I could do what I wanted. Still, I always felt like I was somehow disappointing Alex when I’d prematurely yell out things like “What is South Pacific?” or if I flubbed a pronunciation or, god forbid, got a daily double wrong. …


My therapist is really fond of trying to get me to not worry about things I can’t control. I laugh sometimes because the entire foundation of my anxiety disorder rests on me worrying about things I can’t control. Death, the weather, car accidents — things that are out of my hands is my specialty.

So we talked this week about my anxiety surrounding the election and she trotted out the usual “it’s out of your control” lecture and I stopped her. This isn’t something I can talk myself down from, I told her. This isn’t me worrying about a hurricane…


I was maybe ten, standing in the parking lot of a hospital with my cousins, waving to my aunt who was on the fifth floor supposedly waving back to us. I couldn’t see her. They didn’t let children into hospitals then, so we stood outside hoping to catch a glimpse of her. My cousin Terry said she could see her and immediately started crying, which set off my other cousins crying. The hospital was a bad place; you only went there if you were really sick and if you were old you might never come out. My aunt was in…


the divorce of things

It was 2010 or so, a warm summer day, when an internet friend from a few states away backed into my driveway with her pickup. We loaded the cargo into the truck bed and when she pulled away, headed home with hundreds of my CDs, I cried.

I wanted to get rid of them; I needed to get rid of them. They were ignored, neglected, had become just another thing taking up space in my life. But it was still hard to see them go. I spent years and years developing the collection, nurturing it, looking…


February 8, 2020. A Saturday night. My daughter and I drove into Brooklyn to go see Thrice and mewithoutYou at Brooklyn Steel. Going to concerts was something we did often together, and something I started to take for granted. This was just another in a string of shows we had tickets for that stretched from the past fall until June. I had recently overcome a terrible fear of crowds and crowded places and a hesitancy to leave my house and, enjoying my newfound bravado, I didn’t want to miss a thing.

We gathered for this show knowing very little about…

Michele Catalano

Writer, civil servant, dog lover

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