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About Kristen Gunn

Kristen Gunn hails from Houston, TX, where she spent her days escaping the heat by sitting under the live oaks, swimming in both chlorinated and salt-water pools, and frequenting the Museum of Natural Science. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Religious Studies and Linguistics and currently resides in Charlottesville, VA, where she mostly reads books in her hammock and enjoys the splendor of other human beings while waiting for apple pie to come out of the oven or dancing to live banjo music.

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Author Archive
    
    The Extreme Selfie as an Art Form

    The Extreme Selfie as an Art Form

    I didn’t ask to become inane; it just happened one day while I was driving down the highway, trying to take a selfie while eating a burrito. (This was to stand in as a more interesting version of the “on my way” text.) Mercifully, the rice spilled on my dress, I realized what I was doing, and no one died on that stretch of I-64 that day.

    Worlds away, a number of Russians haven’t been so lucky. After at least ten deaths by selfie this year alone, Russian police have launched a campaign for the “safe selfie” to get their youngest…

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    Two Love Stories

    Two Love Stories

    For your weekend, here’s a reflection on what Alain de Botton considers to be the root of all status anxiety, from his 2004 book of that title. He begins by explaining that our never-ending search for love drives our hungry pursuit of status, and in turn that this love-search is only really half-acknowledged:

    “Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first—the story of our quest for sexual love—is well known and well charted, its vagaries form the staple of music and literature, it is socially accepted and celebrated. The second—the story of our quest for love
    from…

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    Saving Face: the Relational Politics of “I Don’t Know”

    Saving Face: the Relational Politics of “I Don’t Know”

    This post was co-written by Samantha McKean and Kristen Gunn. Sam is a student at Duke Divinity School, where she’s realizing what she actually does and doesn’t know. Kristen is heavily into words and why we say them, which is how this conversation became a post.

    Sam: I say “I don’t know,” a lot. It’s a filler, a tic, the new “um” or “like” that your Com101 professors warned you about. It comes tacked onto the end of my sentences like sad parade banners. Most of the time, I don’t even notice I’m saying it.

    I have a friend who always calls…

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    Why Richard Rodriguez and I Keep Taking Our “Inner Atheists” to Church

    Why Richard Rodriguez and I Keep Taking Our “Inner Atheists” to Church

    Maybe novelty is the currency of the blogosphere—but then again, maybe not. Sometimes the brightest-shining gems come out of an old closet at your grandparents’ house (or in this case, an old box of $1 books at a library sale).

    It may be old (we’re talking last decade—you know, back when Pluto was a planet and “the Facebook” still had an article in front of it), but Richard Rodriguez’s essay “Atheism Is Wasted On the Nonbeliever” deserves to be talked about. Especially by those who claim to believe in something. Or are claimed by something to believe in, of whom I…

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    Penny & Sparrow on Fleeing a Lover

    Penny & Sparrow on Fleeing a Lover

    There is, in fact, no BuzzFeed quiz for “Which Son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son Are You?”—and if there were, I’m not sure people would take it.

    As the story goes, a decently well-off man has two not-that-decent sons. The younger, wild and fugitive, asks his father for an advance on his inheritance. (I have never been a first-century householder or the offspring of one, but have heard this would effectively send the message “You’re dead to me” from son to father.) The father (again, nothing like me, because I would have laughed at this kid or sent him to…

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    Rubbing the Rabbit’s Foot: a Chronicle of Failure (with Free Quotes from Interesting People)

    Rubbing the Rabbit’s Foot: a Chronicle of Failure (with Free Quotes from Interesting People)

    I did everything I could to avoid posting something this week.

    I slowly and meticulously inventoried all our books, even alphabetized them. I spent an afternoon hiding in the attic (read: furnace in the sky), then prolongedly squawked about how hot it was. I made a lot of pour-over coffees. I initiated long conversations about any- and everything with people who had better things to do, including the homeless people in the park across the street.

    And then the worst possible thing happened, which is that my to-do list of inverted priorities dwindled down to one major item left glaring up at me from…

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    "You Do Not Have to Be Good" and Other Lines That Could Save a Life

    “You Do Not Have to Be Good” and Other Lines That Could Save a Life

    When the box spring squeals at four in the morning and jolts me into wakefulness—or when the sleeping pill wears off too early and I am dragged just so slowly by life’s tide back onto the shore of Day—I like to pretend God (or the universe, if it’s too early to say God) is trying to turn me into Mary Oliver. Someone patient and attentive—someone who can enjoy a thousand mornings.

    Of course when the real me checks the time on her iPhone, the first words on her lips are profanities and not poetry; and she has enjoyed about three in…

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    Death in a Penthouse Apartment

    Death in a Penthouse Apartment

    About two months ago, my five housemates and I began to notice a strange, persistent odor emanating from the left bathroom of our “penthouse” (read: dingy attic) apartment. For close to a week no one said anything, all suspecting each other of some unmentionable mishap we couldn’t prove. Of course, we ourselves couldn’t be the culprit, but surely someone had to be responsible for the funk. It was a tense time we spent giving each other the sidelong through squinted eyes.

    Days passed and we began to give up on each other’s good will and ability to do right, so we…

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