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“Stumbling Into Joy,” by Kate Hopper, True Story Issue #29. Kate is a Minnesota treasure, author of Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers and Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood, teacher at The Loft Literary Center and blogger. A publication in True Story is every creative nonfiction writer’s dream and Kate hit this one out of the park — a braided essay about her troubled freshman year at college, female musicians, and learning to play the electric bass at age 44. Rock on, Kate! (I highly recommend a subscription to True Story. I’ve never been disappointed by an issue and I’ve subscribed from the beginning).

Instagram vs. Reality: How I Learned to be Authentic in a Picture Perfect World,” by Kino MacGregor. Kino is a world-renowned Ashtangi, and I have found her how-to videos on YouTube to be incredibly helpful. It’s no wonder that a well-known woman in the world of yoga — which has patriarchal roots — will face challenges regarding authenticity and body image. This blog post is incredibly honest — she says out loud what I suspect many women feel. I’ve known women who perform one way for men and a very different way for other women, which obviously smacks of inauthenticity. Kudos to Kino for acknowledging how unhappy this was making her.

“I couldn’t speak to other women directly because I was too busy performing what I thought men wanted from a woman to be female on my own terms. By accepting my own femininity to a degree that previously was not possible I set myself free to be a whole and complete woman. By fully embracing my gender and valuing the woman in me I can now more directly value and speak to other women.”

Writing an essay a day. On Friday, Aug. 2, I had written an essay that day and one the day before. I thought, hmmmm, could I write an essay a day in August? Why not give it a shot? Actually, I’m drafting an essay a day. Word count is fluid, but so far they’ve been tiny, around 350 words. But by the end of the month, if I keep this up, even if one has a germ of an idea that can be developed I’ll be happy. I’m actually already happy with the one I drafted on Friday. I’m not a giant fan of daily challenges with the pressure to produce something every day, but one month doesn’t seem like too long to give it a try.