Linda Henry

Thatwhich

Me too.

October 17, 2017

It’s not that I think my experiences with sexual harassment and assault are unique. I am sharing this litany because I am a 55-year-old white woman who is in a safe place, in my home and in my work. I say, “me too” for the many women who can’t.

Before #MeToo, (more…)

The girl on the lawn

November 20, 2016

That's me, sitting on the lawn, second from the right, summer of '78.
Forgive my departure from whimsy and turtle adventures, but like a lot of us, I’m alarmed.

For the last year and a half, the orange man has been a constant media presence. When he first started running for president, I couldn’t imagine how much of the air he would suck out of the world, with his bottomless greed, hateful rhetoric, and galling need for attention. (more…)

Post-traumatic strength disorder

October 3, 2016

Today, the Republican candidate said this: “When you talk about the mental health problems…when people come back from war and combat and they see things what maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of (more…)

Lessons from writing out loud, Part 2

February 21, 2016

On my first day using voice recognition software, I wrote: “I’m so self-conscious about my word choice, and I’m thinking about my writing in a way that seems very foreign. When my hands are typing on a keyboard, are my thoughts so choppy?”

Of course I barely read the instructions before starting to use the software. So I was two and a half weeks into it before I noticed this bit of advice at the top of a pop-up box:

“Place the cursor where dictation should go. Think of your whole sentence.” (more…)

Lessons from writing out loud, Part 1

February 2, 2016

About a week after I had tendon transfer surgery in my hand, the voice in my head woke me at 4 a.m. Apparently, it was time for a pop quiz regarding my goals in having the procedure. “What’s goal number one?” the voice asked. Though I was half asleep, I dutifully answered: “To not be in pain.” (more…)

Casting about

January 24, 2016

Witches cast spells. Cynics cast aspersions. Knitters cast on. Directors cast movies. A fisherman casts his line. The die is cast. “Cast” is a busy little word.

(more…)

Letting go of my hand

November 4, 2015

My husband tells people I have no self-pity. That’s not true. I just like to keep it to myself.

Here’s the situation: As the result of nerve damage in my right hand from a car accident 22 years ago, my left hand does all the work, even though I’m right handed. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the keyboard, where on the left all four fingers work together in a spirit of community, while on the right only the pointer finger even bothers to try. (more…)

The worst place in Minnesota (to build pipelines)

September 2, 2015

The author, center, with brother and sister on the left, and cousins on the right, circa 1970, Headwaters of the Mississippi.
During summers at my grandparents’ resort in north-central Minnesota, one of my favorite things to do was visit Itasca, the Headwaters of the Mississippi, for the simple thrill of walking across the narrow stream, bare feet on slippery rocks, at the place where the river begins. I’m still amazed this is the same river as the one back home in St. Paul, flowing north from its source and meandering a bit, like a summer tourist in no particular hurry, gaining energy and strength for whatever lies ahead. (more…)

Tallying my blessings

June 15, 2015

“What do I say when people ask how many kids I have?” A friend of a friend wrote this following the death of her young child. It’s an anxiety I’d almost forgotten in the two decades since I was in her shoes. At the heart of this question is the fear your (more…)

Editor/writer or writer/editor: Who will slash whom?

May 16, 2015

There have always been two sides to my work: writing and editing. When I was a freelance magazine writer, I also copyedited academic manuscripts. In the editorial positions I’ve held since then, I’ve tended to wear both hats, although rarely at the same time as that would mess up my hair. But for my personal writing—like these words you are reading now, if I can ever get them to pass muster—the roles blur as I type. The word “Backspace” on my keyboard is almost completely worn off. My editor is silencing my writer. (more…)

Selected Works

Essays
My daughter likes depressing books. “Someone dies in the first chapter,” Grace says gleefully of a novel she can’t put down. Maybe this inclination comes naturally, growing up with the ghost of a sister she never knew. 
In which my Aspy son prevails against middle-school bullies. Adapted from "A Voice Not My Own"