Past Is Prologue

Love is strange

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Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California, September 11, 2020. Photo: Sela Shiloni

I fell in love with a guy from New England before I knew anything about him, except his art. This is a dangerous practice, as anyone who has spent time with an artist of any sort can surely tell you.

I should know better. I do know better. But I swear this time it’s different.

I found out everything I could about him through the usual channels — not obsessively, mind you, nothing creepy. I made certain inquiries. I’m like that when I’m interested in somebody, as a friend or otherwise. …

This Is Us


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Photo courtesy of the author.

California is America, only more so. That’s its burden and its gift. It’s so big and tiny, crowded and empty, foggy and smoky yet bright and shining, and it shakes. If you drive the whole length of the thing, 770 miles from top to bottom, you’re going to need some great driving music. If you’re cool, you’ll blast a playlist of all the newer stuff that I never know about until it’s not hip anymore.

I do get to it, though. I’m a late bloomer and I travel slow, but I catch up eventually.

Recently, I asked some savvy friends for suggestions. I needed a soundtrack to complete a therapeutic assignment: a road trip, no small thing for an agoraphobe like me. I was recovering from a recent flare-up of the anxiety disorder that has crouched and snarled in me for as long as I can remember. I’ve been through this enough to know that I’ve got to do my cognitive behavioral therapy homework (like another program of recovery I’m in, it works if you work it). And I know that good music helps. Great music fixes almost everything. …

Mind Games

An agoraphobe’s advice on how to go out again

A photo of a red door in an empty room with bright yellow walls.
A photo of a red door in an empty room with bright yellow walls.
Photo: oxygen/Getty Images

Since the stay-at-home orders began in the United States in mid-March, I’ve been asked the same question over and over: “What is this like for you, since you’re, you know, agoraphobic?”

Journalists ask The Question while interviewing me for stories about working from home or about creativity or about mental health. …


Sara Benincasa

Author, REAL ARTISTS HAVE DAY JOBS (and other books). Comedy person. Acting services also rendered.

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