Another excerpt of my novel.

Jelly

The crowd started drifting toward the door. The girl with the thick thighs reached down to pull on laced up shoes, forcing them over her heels and grabbing onto a friend’s shoulder for balance. Margo was arm in arm with a guy, someone Jelly hadn’t noticed before, pulling a jacket over the half of her that wasn’t tethered to another person. The hosts were in the kitchen, taking one last shot of something that smelled cheap and sour, even from here.

Someone yelled that it was time for everyone to leave, that they could…


The series you didn’t know you hadn’t signed up for! Image by moi.

“Cazzie David’s new book really demonstrates that the essay collection has overtaken the autobiography as the personal branding method of choice for bored rich girls.” -Hannah Williams.

“To have a whole interview on Cazzie David’s anxiety over her privilege while mentioning times she’s taken opportunities because of her privilege, and then THIS is the essay chosen to prove she actually deserves her blessings. Incred. The machine keeps churning white mediocrity.” -Alex Zaragoza via Twit

I think I wanted to like Cazzie David’s debut book, an anthology of essays titled “No One Asked For This.” Seeing women my age publish books…


Shorts, running shoes, Scrabble board, Golden Gate Bridge, a stack of books, and sewing supplies on a gradient background.
Shorts, running shoes, Scrabble board, Golden Gate Bridge, a stack of books, and sewing supplies on a gradient background.
Illustration: Phoebe Kranefuss

The Californian’s Dilemma

I stopped mourning the version of the city I was missing out on and started settling into the one I could now embrace

This week in The Bold Italic, we are publishing The Californian’s Dilemma, a series that goes beyond the headlines about the “California Exodus,” featuring essays from San Franciscans about why they’re choosing to stay or leave. Check back daily for new essays.

My upstairs neighbors were the first to leave. San Francisco Mayor London Breed had called for a city-wide lockdown just days after my boyfriend and I moved into our new place in the Presidio. …


It’s the easiest way to trick yourself into becoming a stronger, more published writer.

Brad Neathery on Unsplash

In high school, I lasted about 2 weeks in my first job as an environmental canvasser. You know — those really obnoxious people who stop you on your way out of the grocery store to demand money, then have the gall to suggest you make some obscene monthly donation that’s more money than you spend on groceries all month, which is already way too much money? A lot of people really didn’t like me.

At seventeen, my greatest career goal was to talk really quickly to as many people as I could.

If I made that my benchmark for success in my current job…


It’s Jeff’s turn now.

Graphic by Phoebe Kranefuss (me)

Jeff didn’t remember this girl’s name. He’d sidled up behind her the night before, his hands reaching for her waist like it was the most natural thing in the world, and not — as he now looked back on it — probably a little bit creepy, the kind of thing his sister would say obfuscates women’s agency and creates a power dynamic of cisnormativity, etc. He wondered if the happenstance that brought them together made him more or less accountable to creeping on her. He’d have to check with his sister on that one. …


The trick to writing every day isn’t motivation — it’s setting better goals

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

In October, I decided I was going to write a novel.

I’ve always been one to put everything I have into an idea when it’s exciting and new, only to burn out once I catch wind of the next big plan. And writing a novel was no different.

At first, I was obsessed. I’d sit down and lose track of time, letting inspiration strike as words poured out of me. I was enjoying the process, and for a little while, that was enough. I allowed my feelings to dictate my motivation, writing a sentence or a page, then going for a walk by the beach or buy overpriced coffee at my…


Symbolic yet ultimately meaningless graphic to go along with my story

Want to catch up? Chapter 1 is here.

It was hard to respect a grown man who spoke in epithets the way Scott did.

Who believed in abbreviations, and the reputations of the schools people went to, and thought things like boarding school had any bearing on the success of a full grown adult.

When Scott lay awake at night, did he think about the same things Franklin thought about: childhood memories, personal failings, grocery lists, whether or not the types of people who posted missed encounters on Craigslist all had chlamydia? Or did he care so much about this company that its success infiltrated all of his private fantasies? Was it possible that he really…


It’s time to step into your freedom, and it’s gonna be uncomfortable

My friends and me jumping into the ocean immediately after graduation, back in pre-pandemic times. Photo courtesy the author, Phoebe Kranefuss.

Dear New Grads:

When I graduated four years ago, I had the luxury of inner turmoil and constant listlessness that had nothing to do with record-high unemployment and a global pandemic. Plenty of people have lots of smart things to say about navigating these unprecedented circumstances, and you should learn from them. But I want to tell you about some of the realities of transitioning from academia to life that, I think, will always remain more or less the same.

I was the type of college student who went to office hours, who sent thank you emails to my professors (and meant them)…


In which we meet Franklin and learn what it was like to be him in high school. Ouch.

A low-grade lethargy permeated every part of him. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was purely physical — Franklin was used to living in the type of bloated body that stained good t-shirts yellow after just a couple of wears. He was used to crackly knees and a spine that pitched forward, like the drinking bird at his now dead grandmother’s house, oscillating back and forth but never righting itself quite to vertical.

Franklin wasn’t greedy. He didn’t expect, at 46, to feel in control of each gnarly limb, or for his muscles to feel fresh with velocity, itching with momentum the way they used to.

That was back when he glowed, his skin radiating potential that held onto young women’s gazes, or caused old ladies at cash registers to give him…

Phoebe Kranefuss

Writing stuff, losing my keys weekly, and enjoying frozen pizza in San Francisco.

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