The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lori Horvitz’s “The Girls of Usually”


Excerpt from Shiksa in My Living Room

On the never-tuned grand piano, a two-faced, plastic picture frame held a bar mitzvah family pose on one side, and, on the other a stock photo of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, busty skier—a picture that came with the frame at the time of purchase. Years went by; still her retouched blue eyes stared me down—when I ran to answer the telephone, when I walked in from a lonely day at high school. Through dusty, glare-proof glass, her perfectly straight nose pointed towards my mother’s screams when the greasy chuck steak caught on fire. A decade later, with maroon earmuffs neatly arranged upon her windblown hair, the skier’s rosy glow endured, even when our black poodle, Cindy, died of a heart attack in her sleep. This woman became my surrogate sister—my quiet, confident, blonde-haired role model. The shiksa in my living room.

This selection was taken from Lori Horvitz’ book The Girls of Usually, available from Truman State University Press. Purchase your copy here!

Lori Horvitz’ short stories, poetry and personal essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Chattahoochee Review, Epiphany, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Hotel Amerika, Thirteenth Moon, Tusculum Review, and Quarter After Eight. Her essays have been included in two Seal Press anthologies: P.S.: What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends and Dear John, I’m in Love With Jane. She has been awarded writing fellowships from Fundación Valparaiso, The Ragdale Foundation, Yaddo, Cottages at Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Blue Mountain Center. Horvitz is Professor of Literature and Language at University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she teaches courses in creative writing, literature, and directs their Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

Sarah Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the prose editor for Stirring: A Literary Collective and the special projects editor for Brevity Magazine. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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