My Anxious Brain Inspires Me

Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo // “A writer….must believe that whatever happens to him is an instrument…This is even stronger in the case of the artist that happens, including humiliations. embarrassments, misfortunes, all has been given like clay, like material for one’s art.” -Jorge Luis Borges This story offers a snapshot into my head to provide a humanistic…

Silent Mournings and the Pandemic Blues: Remembering the Dead

Cover Image: Crying Tree by Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo 2020. Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo // I’d play on loop Joe Walsh’s “Life of Illusion” as I watched the news for days. For the first couple of months, I became fixated on the body count numbers. I have generally maintained an apoplectic attitude towards death (theoretically), knowing full well that this…

Emotions as Ethnography: The Story Doctor’s Toolbox

Cover Image: My Aunts by Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo 2021. Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo// I am always “in my feelings.” I say this unapologetically, and knowing that some Latina women are rendered in popular culture as lacking control of their emotions and impulses. The overlap between these representations and my ethnographic life does not escape me. Empathy, “my gut,” memories,…

Little House in the Hood: Save the Bees, call me Mel

Cover Image: Self-Portrait by Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo 2020. Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo // What’s in a Name? I was born in the 1980s, an era filled with excess. Perhaps this is the reason I have always struggled with moderation. My generation was defined by drugs, MTV, and Melissas. From grade school to high school, I was one of a few…