Author Archives: Emma Clarke

The walls have ears

“‘The walls have ears,’ you know, everyone is listening, shut your mouth, don’t talk. Don’t talk bad about the government, don’t talk…don’t say stupid things, because there’s always someone listening. That’s my parents’…their Soviet upbringing. Because, like, everyone was listened to… I had relatives who, for a joke, went to prison. So that kinda…got pretty… Continue Reading »

Don’t take the trash out with you

“You never take the trash out before you leave your house. It’s just bad luck. You don’t–you can take it out earlier, but once you leave the house, you don’t take any trash with you when you go out.” Russians have a vast number of superstitions that revolve around leaving the house. Perhaps because setting… Continue Reading »

Wear red during your zodiac year

“In China, there’s this thing called your ben ming nian, which is pretty much the year–for example, I am the year of the ram. So when it is year of the ram, so every twelve years–so when I’m twelve, twenty four, thirty six…every day of that year, you should wear red. For example, my mom’s… Continue Reading »

Mormon women don’t have middle names

“My mother comes from a Mormon family, and none of the women in her family are supposed to have middle names, because you’re supposed to get married and take your original surname as your middle name and then take your husband’s surname. But then she gave herself a middle name when she became forty because… Continue Reading »