post calvin direct

Get new posts from Katie Van Zanen delivered straight to your inbox.

Just a House

I was suddenly aware of everything: the squelch of the slider door’s rubber seal releasing as my brother came in from the yard. The creak and crash of the screen door to the garage behind my dad.

Dystopia Now

But Nathan was right. I can’t plan for the apocalypse. I can only do what I believe to be useful and good now. I can only do what is in front of me.

I Could Never

Here I am, commuting by car into the big city. Here I am, one half of a white couple in an immigrant town. Here I am, trying to live honestly in an unfamiliar place, with imagination and empathy.

Like Riding A Bike

I could feel the wind teasing my pigtails. I was positively gliding. Then I glanced backward, realized my dad was no longer behind me, and promptly fell off the bike.

What I Signed Up For

February 21, 2016, 4:15 p.m. Crate & Barrel, 777 Boylston St, Boston, Massachusetts. We are standing in front of a flatware display with an iPod scanner, bickering about the price of forks.

thesis, conclusion

The tutor listens quietly. The anxious student is her seventh of the day. It’s a decent paper already, and convincing the student to restructure might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Seven (or Eight, or Nine)

So there is some loss, too, in coming back, in confronting memory with reality, nostalgia with the irrepressible present, which is always other than I imagined it. I am other than I imagined at seven (or eight, or nine).

Untold Stories

It seems odd to speak of the limits of human intimacy when anticipating our reunion; to record for the world the untold stories which are themselves just fragments of a billowing moment already passed away, to promise that I will fail again to share them fully.

Vital Signs

I don’t know what it means to live a good life, or how I’m measuring it. I didn’t donate blood out of purely altruistic motivations—I’m a sucker for free snacks and affirmation. I have had a good life, an exciting life, and insofar as it depends on me, I’d like to keep that up. So something is enough for today.

Thinking Frankenstein

And I’m thinking about how much I feel like Frankenstein’s monster, some days—pieced together, a compilation of chemicals without the animation that makes a life.

Dog Days

I was ten and had three consuming desires in life: a yellow bedroom, an American Girl doll, and a dog. So I was devastated, but prepared to bargain.

A Toast to Hope

I thought of Cairo, of the refugee kids I met, the illiterate mothers, the desperately poor. And I stopped her to ask earnestly, “Where do you find hope?”

Out of Egypt

In Egypt, I experienced a profound sense of longing, both for the home I had left and for the land that God has promised me. I felt unduly blessed and absurdly limited.

Proven Guilty

My analysis and rebuke of them or others does not preclude me from the same sins. Pointing fingers at someone else’s misogyny does not excuse my own sexism.

La Traversée/La Nuit

I don’t forget my body in Cairo, or rarely. I am thickly and humanly here, and it doesn’t feel much like art. It’s odd and awkward and difficult to understand.


I haven’t discovered any resolution to the twin tasks of gratitude and lamentation, a word I may be using to sanctify my grousing.


You risk crossing a busy street. You risk asking questions. You risk being wrong, and hurting people you love, and you risk being right, and doing the same thing.

the post calvin