Articles / Essays

MY LIFETIME MAILBOX

It is a late Sunday afternoon, and I find myself musing over a current experience. In my days right now, there are several losses of love, significant losses–the kind that invite pain into my heart. I remember the past even as I experience the present, and know that in the future I will inevitably find…
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GUILT: THE INEVITABLE EMOTION

My life right now revolves around trying to rescue someone very dear to me. Jeanne is a crack addict and an alcoholic, resisting detox, resisting rehab, resisting the possibility of life. She may very well die and I feel guilty about not doing more to save her. I know all the wisdom about allowing addicts…
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STAYING CONNECTED WITH LIFE

under submission Twenty-five years ago, at my college reunion dinner, classmates pulled snapshots of their kids out of their wallets. This year, at my thirty-fifth, it was cell phone photos of their dogs that made the rounds after dessert. In retrospect, I wonder why it is that dogs have now taken over the spots in…
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AN EXTRAORDINARY PATH

under submission Even after our divorce, I didn’t meet my ex-husband’s new wife for three years, well after they had finally married and I had taken back my maiden name. Holding her close, he protected her—and he was right to do so, for I hated her more fiercely than I could begin to measure. He…
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DIVING DEEP TO EXPLORE THE WRECK: LINDA GRAY SEXTON ON THE PATH TO INSPIRATION

An Essay Published on Read Her Like an Open Book I’m at a dinner party with a total stranger sitting by my side. With someone like you perhaps. When you hear that I am a writer, you will undoubtedly ask me polite questions, many of which I’ve heard numerous times before. I imagine this exchange…
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AT MY MOTHER’S KNEE: HOW I STARTED WRITING

An Essay Published on Meg Waite Clayton’s Blog My guest author today is my friend and fellow Bay Area writer Linda Gray Sexton, whose Bespotted: My Family’s Love Affair with Thirty-Eight Dalmatians is just out. Linda’s previous books include Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year which…
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WHEN A FRIEND CROSSES OVER

Dalmatian Club of America Spotter, Summer Issue 2010 I had promised Gulliver that when his time came I would not let him be in pain and that I would be there to hold him in my arms and rock him out. A week ago, I kept those promises. I had bred Gulliver’s litter, and he slid out…
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A TORTURED INHERITANCE

New York Times, 4.2.2010 I have been crying for Nicholas Hughes. I never met Nicholas, yet I believe I know a great deal about him. He was the second child of the poet Sylvia Plath, who gassed herself in her oven when he was toddler. I am the elder daughter of the poet Anne Sexton,…
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PICK A DICK

Random House/Villard, 1997 Nineteen fifty-nine: I’m six years old, sitting cross-legged on the rough brown rug in front of the black-and-white television set in my parents’ bedroom, entertaining myself with Queen for a Day, a game show, where powdered and permed housewives in flowered print dresses compete to be crowned. Each contestant pitches a lugubrious tale to…
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INTRODUCTION TO SEARCHING FOR MERCY STREET: MY JOURNEY BACK TO MY MOTHER, ANNE SEXTON

Counterpoint Press, 2011; originally published by Little, Brown, 1994 INTRODUCTION Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton began as a letter to my mother, a personal message of mourning and celebration that meditated on our complicated life together. She had died in 1975, during my twenty-first year, by committing suicide. I…
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A DAUGHTER’S STORY: I KNEW HER BEST

New York Times Book Review, 8.18.91In August of 1974, at a candlelit dinner in a restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., shortly after my 21st birthday — on which my mother, Anne Sexton, had appointed me as her literary executor — I once again brought up my reluctance to take on the task. This “birthday gift” seemed…
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“FOREWORD” TO ANNE SEXTON: A SELF-PORTRAIT IN LETTERS

Houghton Mifflin, 1991 In 1987, I received with sadness the news that Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters was to go out of print. My regret stemmed not only from the fact that I had worked hard on Self-Portrait, my first book, during the tumultuous time immediately following my mother’s death, but also from my belief that the book…
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