Distant Yet Personal from issue 299.4

Julia Lynn Rubin

Throughout middle school, I was bullied by multiple people. The bullying wasn’t physical in nature, but emotional and social, which perhaps made it all the more traumatizing. Even today, at age twenty-four, I still feel its lasting effects in my most vulnerable moments. I tried to capture that intensity, pain, and hyper self-awareness in “Like Snowflakes,” a story that is at once distant from my own specific memories yet intimately personal—and intimately adolescent.


Writing has always been a way for me to contain and eradicate pain and trauma, while also honoring the associated feelings and experiences. My characters are purposefully morally vague and contradictory and confusing because I think people are often morally vague and contradictory and confusing.

This story came rather naturally to me; I wrote with an intimate intensity as well as a purposeful detachment from my characters, not always fully understanding them and their motives, but always accepting them.

Julia Lynn Rubin is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and has written for a variety of digital publications, including The Content Strategist and Wetpaint Entertainment. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she is working on her first novel. She will be featured in the upcoming 299.4 Fall 2014 issue of the North American Review.

This illustration accompanied "Like Snowflakes" in the 299.4 print issue of the North American Review. The artist, Catherine Byun, is a freelance illustrator based in San Francisco. She spends her time drawing, watching movies, and hiking around California.