With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Melissa Febos is the author of the memoirs Whip Smart and Abandon Me. Her essay in this issue will appear in her forthcoming collection, Girlhood. After twenty years in New York City, she is acclimating to the Midwest, where she teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa.
I think of that ancient time when the sea was cut off from the ocean, how low it sank, the way the rivers carved canyons to replenish it. Such beauty often requires a kind of devastation. Maybe the saddest landscapes are always the most beautiful.