A guitar, a hair appointment, a birthday
Recently, a friend said to me, “You’re more human since the stroke than you were before.” This touched me profoundly. What a gift the stroke has given me, to finally learn that I don’t have to renounce my humanity in order to be spiritual — that I can be both witness and participant, both eternal spirit and aging body.
Will is the means by which we overcome the problems that life or genes have handed us. Without it, there is no true character.
Sy Safransky On God, LSD, And The Magazine He Founded
The Sun has always been bigger than me. Wiser than me. Steadier than me. One of the satisfactions of publishing it for all these years is that I’ve gotten to see what happens when like-minded people work together toward a common goal.
The Last Harvest
During the months when my parents’ dream of owning a farm died, I became a sleepwalker, and Dad became ever more diligent about hygiene. He shaved twice a day: once before the sun rose and again just before sleep. He kept his steel-toed work boots dirt-free, the leather mink-oiled, the laces neatly double knotted.
Tea And Oranges
This is how it works when times are hard, and even when times are better, if we’re lucky. We women stand on the sidewalk and rest our backs against fences and lean into open car windows to see who needs what. In my twenty-five years living on this block, there have been recessions before, but this one has lasted the longest.
Running In Guantánamo
I jog as far into this uncharted area as I can, toward the mouth of the river. A soldier emerges from some reeds, and then a dozen more. Guns are pointing at me. I have accidentally run into a squad on patrol in full gear.
The Finishing Touch
When I was nineteen, I thought, If I haven’t published a novel by the time I’m twenty-one, I’ll be all washed up. While studying creative writing in graduate school, I thought, If I haven’t published a novel by the time I’m twenty-five, I’ll be all washed up. At thirty-five I quit drinking and thought, Now I really have to publish a novel, or I’m all washed up.
Impossibly bright stars fill the sky like silver glitter sprayed from a fire hose. And, to our good fortune, we’ve chosen to climb on the night of the summer’s largest meteor shower. Each shooting star is like a Roman candle.
Teaching My Daughter To Walk
If my daughter had been born to the Ashanti people in Ghana, she would have been abandoned at the riverbank.
Sweeping Away The Broken Glass
The first transformer blew in the middle of the night. I opened my eyes to sparks flying over the ice-coated trees like fireworks. I made it to the window first, James close behind me, hopping awkwardly.
You’ve published enough books, old man. / Let someone else have a turn. / The letter doesn’t say that, / but it might as well.