Typical Individuality

Or How Diversity Unites Us

Lizz Schumer

Lizz Schumer
Buffalo, New York, USA
August 13
writer, editor, reporter, photographer, propagator and patron of the arts: all.
Author of "Buffalo Steel" (Black Rose Writing 2013), I'm the editor of a small newspaper in upstate New York, hold an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. I also freelance for several publications, both print and online.


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Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 9, 2013 1:27PM

Balancing act: disability and illness in literature

 A selection of Lurlene McDaniel books

Remember Lurlene McDaniel? When I was in elementary and middle school, I couldn’t get enough of her books. For those who missed this 90s pre-teen phenomenon, McDaniel specialized in what the Daily Mail has recently dubbed  “sick lit,” , books a/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 22, 2013 4:10PM

Studies of the edges of things or who we are together

brace yourself 

I’m thinking about the ways in which we protect ourselves. Against each other. Against ourselves. There’s a paper taped to my bulletin board that reads, “what are we bracing from?” Another says, “studies of the edges of things.”

My handwriting has ch… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 1, 2012 4:11PM

More than sadness: the depression problem

I wish they would stop calling depression a mental illness. Because when I’m depressed, my mind is the last to go. I find it first in my body. On that morning when depression first descends,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 13, 2012 2:52PM

The bumper sticker slapped 'cross the world

 that which does not unite us, divides us.

I think it was the bumper sticker that did it.

 My parents have always been Republicans. Well, technically, my mom was a registered Democrat up until a few years ago, which she maintains to this day was a mistake of her wayward youth. Kind of like tie dye and that afro… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 6, 2012 8:52PM

Mine is clouds: Brautigan and writing

Richard Brautigan 

Sometimes, something as small as a paperback from a friend can change your life. But, like most improbable cliches, the timing has to be right for that to happen. You have to be in a certain state of mind: optimistic, maybe. Or overtired. You also have to be in the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 22, 2012 9:13PM

Show and Tell: Our Social Media Problem


Back in elementary school, we had a thing called Show and Tell. I'm sure some of you remember. The idea was, each kid brought in her most treasured possession, something particularly gross, exciting, sparkly, shiny, whatever, and showed it off to one-up the next kid. If you didn't have… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 7, 2012 7:49PM

Generation F**ked Over

Image credit to Obama.net 

If the economy was a joke in 2009, freshly-minted college grads were the punchline.

 December 2008: the economy is tanking, and it's tanking hard. Unemployment is skyrocketing, moms are competing with their teens who are elbowing their retired grandmas out of the way, all because m… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 22, 2011 9:31PM

The Christmas Gift



A few weeks before Thanksgiving, in preparation for the holiday gift-giving frenzy ahead, my mom crouched in the spare room we called “the office,” code for “the place we store all the junk we don’t need but haven’t thrown away yet.” She tossed… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 8, 2011 11:47AM

Ellen and me

“Miss Lizz, do you want to come watch me get my chemo?”
My next door neighbor, ten-year-old Ellen tugged on my hand as the white van in her driveway ground to a stop and a middle-aged blonde in khakis and a sweater climbed out, only the stethoscope around her neck betraying her/… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 17, 2011 4:16PM

Gossip Queen

 I was the dorkiest cheerleader you’ve ever seen. At my parochial grade school, there were two options for extracurricular activities during the winter: basketball or cheerleading. My parents told me I had to "participate in something" to keep me from spending the entire snowy season watchRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 5, 2011 8:58PM

Hair tales: my best friend found me where I least expected

 Ron and I, in one of our many

I’ll come right out and say it: I chose my college because of money. Sure, the stellar journalism program that made me look there in the first place helped. The location was right: an hour and a half from home, so it was close enough to grab supplies from… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 18, 2011 4:58PM

Me and religion: it's complicated

I’ve gone to church almost every weekend this summer. No, I haven’t had some dramatic religious conversion. No, I haven’t reawakened my passion for Catholicism. But there’s something there I want, although it isn’t the something I think most of the attendees are looking… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 12, 2011 8:22PM

Talking down an alcoholic with a drink in my hand



"Lizz, I'm sorry. I won't be able to hang out with you tonight. I drank a fifth of Jack, got in a fight with my buddy and flipped my car. The officer didn't give me a DWI, but I know he knew. He just drove me home to my… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 8, 2011 5:29PM

I wasn't artsy, I just didn't have the money not to be


I dressed roughly the same from age 3 until high school. With moderate size variations. 

The mic traveled down the line of middle schoolers, most dressed as doctors, teachers, chefs, with the occasional construction worker or law enforcement officer thrown in. I trembled in my plaid capris and fingered my activist buttons.

“And what do you want to be when you… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 6, 2011 10:05PM

Slow Suicide: the Songs that Saved Me

They weren’t the best band I had ever heard. The melodies were mundane and simplistic, the words cliché and often trite and the band members certainly didn’t have much going for them in the looks department. I can’t speak to their stage presence since th… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
MARCH 28, 2011 2:58PM

Spring Flowers: The Crocuses are Blooming


The crocuses are blooming. 

Through several inches of snow, hardy purple blossoms peek, their stiff green leaves waving like soldiers' spears, flanking the more delicate hearts, their little yellow tongues sticking out of the centers in brash defiance of the weather.

March means sp… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 18, 2011 5:06PM

The Papers I Couldn't Recycle

Photo 53

Newsprint yellows with age overnight. One day, I sat at the kitchen counter eating my morning cereal before school, eagerly flipping through the newspaper until I came to my name. I would critique the finished product with an eagle eye, crowing gleefully over risky sentences or daring quotes… Read full post »