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Wendy Ortiz WENDY C. ORTIZ is a writer and registered marriage and family therapist intern in Los Angeles. She is a columnist for McSweeney's Internet Tendency and has contributed to The Rumpus, The New York Times, PANK, and Specter Magazine, among other online and print journals. She is a co-founder, curator, and host of the Rhapsodomancy Reading Series at the Good Luck Bar in Hollywood since 2004.

Her books Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books) and Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press) are forthcoming in 2014.

Recent Work By Wendy C. Ortiz

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All we needed was a tent but we didn’t have one, because I was supposed to be “at the library” and she was supposed to be “working later on a Friday than usual.” We only had a blanket, some snacks, and water. It was hot just like all the other summer Fridays we’d spent together, but instead of meeting at her best friend’s apartment we were in one of the many little outposts of Griffith Park, committing our adultery on a blanket.

Pretty

By Wendy C. Ortiz

Essay

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This is a pretty essay.

In the beginning, the word was chula. Que chula was cooed and gasped at me. My mother and grandmother fawned over me with these words, as though they were astonished by me every time they said it.

I went to kindergarten believing I was a princess, enough to quarrel with Debbie Holly. She, too, believed she was a princess. Together we believed we were, each of us, pretty. But there could only be one princess, the prettiest one of all.

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“Losing My Religion,” by REM

There were the religion classes I was forced to attend in my Catholic high school.

Operation Desert Storm was a month old. I was a senior and attending protests against the war. I had lost my religion, literally, several years before. I used to read the Bible, to silently call to God for wishes, for rescue, until just before I met the junior high teacher who would become my lover.

Spell

By Wendy C. Ortiz

Essay

I won so many spelling bees in elementary school. Certificates with my name on them, little prizes of ice-cream scented erasers.

I loved spelling. It was ordered and rote and made sense to me even when it did not. Bough, ought, caught.

I was indignant when anyone else won. I felt spelling bees were my calling. I took the used workbooks home, the ones I’d completed week after week during the school year.

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Playa del Rey and Venice Beach, California

7:05 p.m.: Seated at a fine restaurant. Intelligent, attractive, interesting and sometimes flammable man on one side of the table. Me across.

Trout with almonds. Carrot soup. Half a bottle of chardonnay. Mountain elk.

Dessert: the one on the cover of a magazine that made me want to dip my finger onto the page and come away with a drip of chocolate. The photo that led us here.

I finished trying on the umpteenth pair of vintage eyeglass frames and walked back out into the heat towards the hospital. A woman stopped me. I’d noticed her earlier mostly because she seemed lost in thought, and her yellow t-shirt said in spangly old glitter iron-on MOZART. She looked out of place at Vermont and Barnsdall simply because she looked so lucid. The rest of us seemed to drift around her like whirlpools of air on the sidewalks.